A NEW app to trace coronavirus across England and Wales will launch on September 24, the Government has confirmed.

Businesses such as pubs, restaurants and cinemas are being urged to display NHS QR codes on entry ahead of the roll-out.

Customers who have downloaded the app onto their smartphone will then be able to scan the code to ‘check in’, with details passed onto the NHS Test and Trace system.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock says the app’s launch is a ‘defining moment’ and will help to contain the virus ‘at a critical time’.

He added: "We need to use every tool at our disposal to control the spread of the virus including cutting-edge technology.

"QR codes provide an easy and simple way to collect contact details to support the NHS Test and Trace system.

"It is vital we are using the NHS Test and Trace system to reach as many people as possible to prevent outbreaks and stop this virus in its tracks.

“This function will make it simple and easy so we can keep this virus under control."

The Department for Health and Social Care says ongoing trials in the London Borough of Newham, on the Isle of Wight and with NHS Volunteer Responders show the app is ‘highly effective when used alongside traditional contact tracing to identify contacts of those who have tested positive for coronavirus’.

Simon Thompson, managing director of the NHS Covid-19 app, said: “My team have worked tirelessly to develop the new NHS Covid-19 app.

“We are now giving businesses the time to prepare their venues ahead of the app becoming available across England and Wales.

“We are working closely to engage, educate and inform them about how the app works and how they can play their part.

"The QR system is a free, easy and privacy-preserving way to check in customers to venues, and we encourage all businesses to get involved and download and display the official NHS QR code posters."