A new Covid-19 contact-tracing app will be launched across England and Wales on 24 September, the government has announced.
The app will let people scan barcode-like QR codes to register visits to hospitality venues and will implement Apple and Google’s method of detecting other smartphones.
Businesses are being asked to display QR code posters to support the app.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock described the launch as “a defining moment”.
The first version of the NHS contact-tracing app, intended for the whole of the UK, was trialled on the Isle of Wight in May but later abandoned.
“We need to use every tool at our disposal to control the spread of the virus including cutting-edge technology,” said Mr Hancock.
“The launch of the app later this month across England and Wales is a defining moment and will aid our ability to contain the virus at a critical time.”
According to the latest figures published by the Office for National Statistics, there were an estimated 3,200 new cases a day in England during the first week of September, compared with 2,000 the week before.
Some hospitality venues have already been using their own QR code-based systems for test and trace but are now being asked to switch to the NHS version instead.
Universities, hospitals, leisure premises, civic centres and libraries are being asked to display posters in communal areas such as cafes, where people gather for longer than 15 minutes.
An alternative system, such as a handwritten register, must also be maintained for visitors who do not have smartphones, the Department of Health and Social Care said.