Welsh Government Press Note: New app launched to track and trace coronavirus

First Minister & NHS Wales call on public to download app and log symptoms

First Minister Mark Drakeford and NHS Wales are appealing to the Welsh public to download a new COVID Symptom Tracker app to help the NHS response to COVID-19 in Wales.

People across Wales are being asked to log their daily symptoms to help build a clearer picture of how the virus is affecting people. The app is for everyone, not just those who are experiencing symptoms.

Developed by researchers at King’s College London and healthcare science company, ZOE, the COVID-19 Symptom Tracker is already being used by more than 38,000 people in Wales, and over 2 million across the UK. People are using the app to track their daily health and any potential COVID-19 symptoms. It is also being used by healthcare and hospital workers.

Data from the COVID-19 Symptom Tracker app will be shared daily with the Welsh Government and NHS Wales. It will give early indications of where future hospital admissions are going to be.

Scientists from Kings College London and the Secure Anonymised Information Linkage (SAIL) Databank at Swansea University will work with the Welsh Government to analyse the data to inform modelling and understand and predict the developing situation of the disease in Wales.

First Minister, Mark Drakeford said:

“Having a range of evidence and data is crucial in helping us build a clear picture of how the virus is behaving and affecting everyone’s lives. Crucially this app can help us anticipate potential COVID hot spots and get our NHS services ready. I’m asking everyone in Wales to download the new COVID Symptom Tracker app, so you can help protect our workers and save lives. Together we can build the best scientific picture so we are better armed to fight this terrible disease.”

The research team at King’s College London and ZOE are analysing the data to generate new insights about the disease. An interactive map allowing anyone to see the distribution of COVID in their area is available at covid.joinzoe.com as well as frequent science updates.

Lead researcher Professor Tim Spector from King’s College London, says: 

“Accurate real-time data is essential if we are to beat this disease. Without accurate and wide spread testing it’s essential that we have much data as possible to help us predict where we are going to see the next spikes in demand so that resources can be effectively deployed ahead of time to meet the needs of the patients. The support of the Welsh Government and NHS Wales is an incredibly positive step in the right direction and we hope to see other NHS groups coming on board in the coming days. 

We would like to take this opportunity to thank every single person who is already participating, and would urge everyone else to download the app and check in every day, whether you are experiencing any symptoms or feeling fine.”

The app is available to download from the Apple App Store and Google Play from the links at covid.joinzoe.com.

Daily symptom maps and other content are available via https://covid.joinzoe.com/blog

 ENDS

 

Notes:

To make this data actionable by the NHS, a secure, anonymised data pipeline has been established to deliver contributor information from the COVID Symptom Tracker app into the NHS via BREATHE – the Health Data Research Hub for Respiratory Health and SAIL Databank at Swansea University, supported by Health Data Research UK. This can support the effective deployment of limited NHS resources such as healthcare personnel, testing kits or ventilators to where they are most likely to be needed.

Regular downloads of anonymised data from the app will be securely delivered through BREATHE – the Health Data Research Hub for Respiratory Health into the SAIL Databank, making it accessible to NHS decision-makers and academic researchers. This also means that the app data can be linked together with other COVID-19 datasets generated by the NHS digital transformation unit, NHSX, and others.

King’s College London and ZOE recently discovered that loss of smell or taste is more likely to be an early symptom of COVID-19 than fever.

About King’s College London

King’s College London is one of the top 10 UK universities in the world (QS World University Rankings, 2018/19) and among the oldest in England. King’s has more than 31,000 students (including more than 12,800 postgraduates) from some 150 countries worldwide, and some 8,500 staff.

King’s has an outstanding reputation for world-class teaching and cutting-edge research. In the 2014 Research Excellence Framework (REF), eighty-four per cent of research at King’s was deemed ‘world-leading’ or ‘internationally excellent’ (3* and 4*).

Since our foundation, King’s students and staff have dedicated themselves in the service of society. King’s will continue to focus on world-leading education, research and service, and will have an increasingly proactive role to play in a more interconnected, complex world. Visit our website to find out more about Vision 2029, King’s strategic vision for the next 12 years to 2029, which will be the 200th anniversary of the founding of the university.

World-changing ideas. Life-changing impact. kcl.ac.uk

About ZOE

ZOE was founded by Professor Tim Spector and data science experts Jonathan Wolf and George Hadjigeorgiou as a spin-out from King’s College London. Based in Boston, US, and London, UK, ZOE is harnessing the power of data science and large-scale research studies to bring precision health and nutrition to everyone. joinZOE.com