A CORONAVIRUS contact tracing app for England has moved into the next test phase after months of delays.

The app has launched for the new trial in the Isle of Wight and with NHS volunteer responders across England.

Next week, the trial will be extended to residents of the London Borough of Newham.

The app has had a difficult history, after the Government ditched efforts to develop its own technology in June over accuracy issues and concerns about privacy.

Latest versions of the app use an Apple and Google-developed system which handles data in a more privacy-friendly manner, using Bluetooth to keep an anonymous log of people a user has been close to that they may not know, such as a stranger on a bus.

It features alerts based on postcode, letting users know the level of coronavirus risk in their district, as well as QR check-in for whenever a user visits a public venue.

Venues and locations will be able to generate a QR code via the gov.uk website.

Unfortunately, the app cannot be a "silver bullet" for coronavirus, but could help to support the NHS Test and Trace effort.

Dido Harding, executive chairwoman of the NHS Test and Trace programme, said: “There is no silver bullet when it comes to tackling coronavirus.

“The app is a great step forward and will complement all of the work we are doing with local areas across the country to reach more people in their communities and work towards our vision of helping more people get back to the most normal life possible at the lowest risk.”

Calculations from 100,000 simulations suggested a true positive rate of 69 per cent, meaning around seven in 10 contacts who have been within two metres of a person who has tested positive will be correctly alerted.

A false positive rate of 45 per cent however suggested that some 4.5 out of 10 people in close contact with someone but outside the two-metre boundary would be notified.

The Department for Health and Social Care said its fresh attempt uses the latest security technology designed with user privacy in mind.

Matt Hancock said: “We’ve worked with tech companies, international partners, privacy and medical experts to develop an app that is simple to use, secure and will help keep the country safe

“Building on the feedback from the first phase, I want to thank Isle of Wight residents who will again play a vital national role in fighting this pandemic, joined by residents in Newham, London, and our incredible NHS volunteer responders.

“We are hugely grateful to everyone playing their part to rigorously test the new app and provide the foundation for a national rollout.”

It is still not clear when the Government intends to make the app widely available, with those behind the app giving no firm timetable.

Northern Ireland has already launched its own app, while Scotland is expected to have one by autumn.