UK to trial virus tracing app as another 288 COVID-19 patients die

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British Health Secretary Matt Hancock said Monday that a coronavirus-tracing app will be trialled from Tuesday in the Isle of Wight as another 288 COVID-19 patients have died in Britain.

Chairing the Downing Street's daily press briefing, Hancock called on the public living on the island to download the National Health Service (NHS) contact-tracing app, expected to be rolled out more widely in the country later this month.

By doing so, they will be protecting themselves and the whole community, he told reporters.

According to Hancock, the large proportion of the elderly and relatively lower number of smartphone users on the island was one of the reasons for choosing it, which will allow the government to address "as many of the challenges" as possible in rolling the app out nationwide.

The government hopes to roll out the contact-tracing app across the country in the "middle of this month", Hancock said.

During the press conference, Hancock said another 288 COVID-19 patients have died in Britain, bringing the total coronavirus-related death toll in the country to 28,734.

The figures include deaths in all settings, including hospitals, care homes and the wider community.

Hancock said the number marked the smallest daily rise since the end of March, although the daily reported rise in deaths after a weekend tends to be lower than later in the week.

On Monday, Prime Minister Boris Johnson called on other countries to step up their efforts and work together on the "most urgent shared endeavor of our lifetimes" during the virtual Coronavirus Global Response International Pledging Conference.

He also confirmed the country's pledge of 388 million pounds (around 482 million U.S. dollars) aid funding for research into vaccines, tests and treatments -- part of a larger 744 million pounds (around 925 million dollars) existing aid commitment of Britain to help end the pandemic and support the global economy. 

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