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NHS sends alerts COVID-19 app has shut down in England and Wales

The NHS COVID-19 app for England and Wales.

Users of the NHS COVID-19 app in England and Wales are no longer able to use the app, due to the shutdown of the service on Thursday.

Like many other countries around the world, the UK's National Health Service has relied on apps to try and detect and cut down the spread of COVID-19 in the country. In an update on Thursday, the app stopped working for a large part of the UK.

The shutdown of the platform on Thursday only affects the app used in England and Wales. Other versions for Scotland and Northern Ireland have also closed.

Users in England and Wales are now starting to see alerts that the app is no longer functional. BBC News adds the app will be pulled from the App Store in May.

Introduced in 2020 and using the API built by Apple and Google, albeit with initial doubts on its functionality, the exposure notification app was downloaded approximately 30 million times during the pandemic. The app was a crucial part of Test and Trace, with it used to report positive tests as well as to determine if the user had come into close contact with someone carrying the virus.

Despite teething troubles, including a week in December where nearly 700,000 notifications were sent, the app may have been useful in preventing deaths.

Research from a peer-reviewed study released in February proposes that the app may have prevented one million COVID cases in England and Wales, including some 44,000 hospitalizations, and approximately 10,000 deaths in its first year of use.