The NHS has asked for our help in their roll-out of the new Test and Trace phone app that is being launched today, 24th September. Even though the system may be of limited use in church, as it is dependent on users having a smartphone with Bluetooth enabled, the NHS still wants organisations across the country to support it in the interest of public health.
There is a summary attached to this email which explains how the app works and addresses privacy concerns and the use of the QR code at the church entrance.
For those who are unaware, a QR code is a series of black and white squares, a bit like a barcode, which can be scanned by a phone’s camera and converted into data for the phone to use.
We have generated a QR code poster which is placed at the entrance to church to help in tracing those who unfortunately have been in close contact for more than 15 minutes with someone who tested positive for coronavirus.
One benefit of the system is that the combination of a QR code and Bluetooth means that the app is very precise when it come to a person’s location. For example, if several users of the app were at the same Mass and one subsequently tested positive for coronavirus, then only those people who were sitting near the infected person would be notified, and not everyone in the church who uses the app.
It is perhaps stating the obvious to say that we will need to continue manually recording the names of those who attend Mass and who do not use the phone app.
Click the image below for detailed information on the Apps use.
Rt Rev Paul Swarbrick
Bishop of Lancaster
The Catholic Diocese of Lancaster
The Bishop’s Office
The Pastoral Centre