Some big changes could be made in the NHS Covid app to reduce the number of people asked by the testing and tracking service to self-isolate. In the last week of June, around 360,000 alerts were sent through the iPhone and Android app, warning users if they have been in close contact with someone who tested positive for the virus.
After all restrictions were lifted on July 19, experts are now warning that this number could rise to millions if the sensitivity of the app is not reduced.
A source close to Sajid Javid has now announced that the new Minister of Health is considering making changes to the app, which is currently pinging users if they are within 2 meters of an infected person for more than two minutes. In an interview with the BBC, the source confirmed: “We are checking the sensitivity of the app”.
Right now, anyone who receives a warning is being told to stay home for 10 days, and many in the hospitality industry are warning that doing so could bring their businesses to a standstill. UKHospitality trade organization executive director Kate Nicholls recently warned of problems for the sector, saying the increasing number of employees being asked to self-isolate is causing “slaughter” for pubs, restaurants and bars.
There are also concerns that the British are now deleting the app entirely due to the frequency with which it is pinged.
READ MORE: Sky is releasing the biggest broadband upgrade ever at a price Virgin Media and BT can’t match
Jenny Harries, the head of the new UK health authority, recently admitted to MPs that the public “doesn’t want to use the app”.
Chancellor Rishi Sunak also recently acknowledged the “frustration” of the British public.
Speaking to Sky News, Sunak said, “I know most people’s concerns are related to how the app works, and the Minister of Health is aware of that.
“The app counts for the majority of the people who need to isolate, as far as I know, and it examines what is the most appropriate, balanced, and proportionate approach to isolation under the circumstances.”
This is not the first time the Covid app has been changed since it was launched.
As restrictions began to lift across the UK, a change in rules now requires everyone who visits the NHS Covid-19 app and ” Check In ”is used.
In the past, a single member of any group of friends or family could “check in” – usually with a QR code. This was enough to allow the entire group to enter. However, each individual member now has to scan the QR code in order to register their visit with the NHS smartphone app. The change is intended to speed up contact tracking.