Matt Hancock is self-isolating after a Covid app notification - here's what happened

Health Secretary Matt Hancock has announced he is currently self-isolating after being notified to do so by the UK's NHS Covid-19 app.

Mr Hancock said he will be staying at home until the end of the week, after being alerted by the app that he had been in close contact with someone who has tested positive for Covid.

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The NHS app works by using Bluetooth technology to make contact between mobile phones when they are near each other. If an owner of a phone later tests positive for Covid and shares this with the app, alerts are then sent to anyone who has been in close proximity.

The Health Secretary wrote on Twitter: “Last night I was alerted by the @NHSCOVID19app to self isolate so I’ll be staying at home & not leaving at all until Sunday.

“We all have a part to play in getting this virus under control.”

‘You must follow these rules like I'm going to’

In a video message accompanying the tweet, Mr Hancock said that self-isolation after being in contact with someone with the virus is “perhaps the most important part of all the social distancing,” as “this is how we break the chains of transmission.”

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Mr Hancock added: "So you must follow these rules like I'm going to. I've got to work from home for the next six days, and together, by doing this, by following this, and all the other panoply of rules that we've had to put in place, we can get through this and beat this virus."

In March of last year, Mr Hancock revealed he had tested positive for Covid shortly after Prime Minister Boris Johnson confirmed he also had the virus.

Self-isolation is a legal requirement for anybody who has coronavirus symptoms, has tested positive for the virus, lives with someone who has symptoms, has arrived from abroad or has been contacted by the NHS Test and Trace system.

Self-isolation requires staying at home and not leaving for a period of 10 days. Prior to the self-isolation period being reduced to 10 days in December, people had to isolate for 14 days.

The NHS app counts down an isolation period of 10 days after the last time the notified individual was in contact with the person who has tested positive for Covid.