The delayed NHS Covid-19 app being launched in England and Wales on Thursday will not provide the automatic contact-tracing ability that was first promised, Downing Street said.

The Prime Minister’s official spokesman said: “It will be there to check and report symptoms, book a test, find out if you have tested positive or not and if you need to self-isolate.

“You will be able to check the risk level of your local area and it will provide for the QR code check-in on entry to various premises with your phones, instead of having to fill out a check-in box or anything else to provide your contact details.”

It is “not the intention” to make downloading the app mandatory but “it will be backed by a social media campaign pointing out the role it can play in helping to check and report symptoms and to help keep yourself, your loved ones and your friends safe”.

Asked if it would do automatic contact tracing, the spokesman said: “I have set out to you the functions which it will have when it has launched.”

Manual contact tracing will continue to be carried out by the NHS Test and Trace operation.