NHS Covid app 'pings' fall by 43pc in a week

NHS Covid app ‘pings’ fall by 43pc in a week

The number of people being told to self-isolate by the NHS Covid app has fallen by 43 per cent in a week, new figures have shown.

A total of 395,971 alerts were sent in the week to July 28 telling people in England and Wales that they had been in close contact with someone who had tested positive for coronavirus.

This is down 43 per cent on the previous week, when 690,129 alerts were sent on the app, Government figures show.

There has also been a big decrease in the number of check-ins to venues using the app.

There were 2.4 million check-ins in the week to July 28 in England and Wales – down 65 per cent on the previous week.

This follows Monday’s announcement that the app was being updated so fewer contacts would be instructed to isolate after an increase in people being pinged since lockdown restrictions ended, resulting in the so-called “pingdemic”.

The Health Secretary Sajid Javid said the “logic” behind the app was being tweaked, although the sensitivity and risk threshold will remain unchanged.

The update to the app meant that instead of checking contacts for five days before a positive test, the app will only go back two days.

Mike Tildesley, a member of the Scientific Pandemic Influenza Modelling group advising ministers, described the app as “incredibly useful”, despite large numbers of people being asked to isolate.

He told Sky News: “I know there have been some challenges in terms of, particularly at the moment, the so-called ‘pingdemic’, but in terms of being able to detect contact, it has been extremely valuable.

“Obviously the challenge with that is that a lot of people are going into isolation and over the last few days the app has been made less sensitive.”

Dr Tildesley said there is a worry that if too many people are pinged, fewer may be willing to comply, but he added that the tweak will “hopefully guarantee higher levels of compliance”.

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