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If you have been in close contact with another app user who tests positive for COVID-19, you will get an alert on your phone.

What a close contact alert means

A close contact alert means you were close enough (within 2 metres) to someone who has the virus for long enough (more than 15 minutes) for there to be a risk that you could have been exposed to the virus.

You will not know who the infected person is or where the contact happened.

You will need to take action to stop the possible spread of the virus.

What you need to do

The alert will advise you to:

It's important that you follow this advice to protect yourself and others.

Getting a test appointment

You'll be asked if you want to share your phone number when you first set up the app and when you get an alert. If you share your number with us, our contact tracing team will call you. They will arrange a free COVID-19 test for you.

If you decide not to share your number through the app, call the COVID-19 helpline. They will take your details so someone can call you to arrange a test.

You may still get a call from our contact tracing team even if you do not share your phone number. This can happen if someone tests positive for COVID-19 and shares your number with our contact tracing team because you are a close contact.

What a close contact alert looks like

A close contact alert appears in 2 places on your phone. This is to make sure that you see it.

It will appear:

  • as a notification on your phone's home screen
  • within the COVID Tracker app when you open it

Home screen notification

Close contact alert on phone

This is what the alert notification on your phone's home screen looks like.

This notification will say: ‘Close Contact Alert: Please check the COVID Tracker app now’. It may disappear from your phone after a period of time.

Alert within the COVID Tracker app

Close contact in-app alert

This is what the alert notification will look like when you open the COVID Tracker app.

This alert will be within a red box and say: ‘Close Contact Alert: The app has detected that you have been in close contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19’.

This alert will not disappear for 14 days. It will stay on the screen for this period whenever you are in the app. You can clear the alert through the contact tracing settings on the app.

Potential exposure alert

potential exposure notification

You will only see this alert if you are using an older version of your mobile phone operating system. You should update your software to the latest free version of iOS or Android.

A potential exposure alert is different to a close contact alert. You do not need to take any action.

A potential exposure means you may have been near someone who tested positive for COVID-19. But you were not near them long enough to be a close contact. So your risk of getting the virus is low. For example, it could be someone you passed on the street or were in a queue with for less than 15 minutes.

If you work in a healthcare setting or school

Your risk of getting the virus is very low if you or the people around you are wearing PPE, such as in a hospital or in a school. But you may still get a close contact alert.

Healthcare workers

Read advice for healthcare workers who use the app and wear PPE.


If there has been a confirmed case of COVID-19 in your school, your local public health team will contact you. They will tell you if you need to take any action.

If you get a close contact alert and a contact tracer calls you, tell them where you work. If there has been a recent case, let them know. They will tell you if you need to take action.

Last updated: 29 January at 10.45am

page last reviewed: 26/11/2020
next review due: 26/11/2023