Record number of ‘pings’ sent to NHS Covid App users last week

·2-min read
 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

A record 689,313 alerts were sent to users of the NHS Covid-19 app in England and Wales in the last week, government figures show.

The figure, which shows how many alerts have been sent to people who have been in close proximity to someone who later tested positive for Covid, is up from 618,903 the week before. It marks a more than 10 per cent rise in just seven days.

The ongoing pingdemic has led to mass staff shortages across industries with businesses struggling to maintain regular services.

Last week, supermarkets had to reassure customers that there was no need to panic buy following pictures of half-empty shelves and reports of temporary shortages. This was partly caused by self-isolating workers and prior staff shortages.

The impact of the pingdemic has also been seen in factories, bakeries and meat processing plants. Train companies accross England were also forced to implement cuts to services due to workers self-isolating.

Communities Secretary Robert Jenrick acknowledged that the record high number of alerts sent to users of the Covid-19 app is “significant” and can be “frustrating”

But he urged people to isolate if they are advised to do so.

“It is helping us to trace those people who have come into contact with people who’ve tested positive.,” he told the BBC.

“We still ask people, if they are pinged, to take the steps that they’re required to do and to self-isolate.”

The government introduced emergency measures which it says will protect food supplies, allowing thousands of workers to avoid the need to self-isolate if identified as a close contact. Instead, critical workplaces in the food supply chain are being prioritised for targeted daily testing.

Some police, firefighters, Border Force staff and transport workers have also been exempted from self-isolation.

Sajid Javid said “no-one really knows” what will happen next with Covid case numbers.

The health secretary, who previously warned that there could be 100,000 daily cases over the summer, said he hoped recent falls in the numbers would be sustained but it was important not to be “too optimistic”.

“The truth is, when it comes to case numbers no-one really knows where they are going to go next,” he said.

“I hope that the falls that we’re seeing now are sustained. That’s of course what I want to see.

“But we’ve already seen with the Delta variant, a new variant that emerged over the last year, that’s more infectious than the previous one, that things can change.

“And so, I think it’s important to remain cautious, not get too optimistic.”

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