NHS App Changed To Reduce Number Of People ‘Pinged’ Into Self-Isolation

·2-min read
(Photo: Christopher Furlong via Getty Images)
(Photo: Christopher Furlong via Getty Images)

The NHS Covid app has been updated to reduce the number of people told to self-isolate in the “pingdemic”, the government has announced.

Health secretary Sajid Javid revealed that the smartphone app would from Monday have an upgrade to its “logic” system.

Currently, for people who input a positive test but are asymptomatic, the app looks for close contacts five days prior to a positive test.

This will be updated based on public health advice to look back at contacts two days prior to a positive test.

The move is designed to restore confidence in the app following reports that many people were disabling it amid fears that they would be “pinged” and told to stay at home for 10 days.

The department for health and social care (DHSC) said the change will mean fewer contacts that took place when the positive case was unlikely to be at the peak of their infectiousness are advised to self-isolate, reducing the overall number of notifications sent by the app.

The department said the update would not impact the sensitivity of the app, or change the risk threshold, and will result in the same number of “high-risk contacts” being advised to self-isolate.

Javid said: “We want to reduce the disruption that self-isolation can cause for people and businesses, while ensuring we’re protecting those most at risk from this virus. This update to the app will help ensure that we are striking the right balance.

“It’s so important that people isolate when asked to do so in order to stop the spread of the virus and protect their communities.”

Dr Jenny Harries, CEO of UK Health Security Agency, said: “The NHS COVID-19 App is a really practical example of how technology can be used to fight the biggest challenges we face in protecting and improving our health.

“The app is the simplest, easiest, and fastest way to find out whether you have been exposed to the virus, and it has saved thousands of lives over the course of this pandemic.”

This article originally appeared on HuffPost UK and has been updated.

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