Test and trace app sends notifications warning users of ‘exposure to covid’ … but gives NO further information
BRITS are being spooked by new alerts from the NHS test and trace app saying they’ve had exposure to Covid-19 – but are getting no further information on what to do.
Panicked Brits have reported getting alarming push notifications through to the official NHS app, which launched last week after months of delays.
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The app uses bluetooth to tell if you’ve been too near to someone with covid and should self-isolate.
It also allows you to check into venues such as restaurants – and they can contact you if there’s an outbreak there. It also gives out advice, lets you book a test, and tells you the risk level in your area.
The message many users have been getting reads: “Possible COVID-19 Exposure. Verifying exposure info. The app has accessed the date, duration and signal strength of this exposure.”
Others said: “Someone you were near reported having COVID-19. Exposure date, duration and signal strength have been saved.”
But when it’s clicked on, it leads to no information, and doesn’t tell the user if they need to self-isolate or not.
Experts and the Department for Health have previously stressed that people only needed to stay indoors and isolate if they are specifically told to by the app.
David Bonson, a senior researcher at Oxford University’s Nuffield Department for Medicine, and an adviser to the Department for Health on the app, told Radio 4 yesterday: “Any notification to isolate will be absolutely crystal clear within the app.
“If you don’t have anything within the app telling you to do something, you don’t need to worry.”
A separate notification letting people know they must stay inside will be sent if they have been within two metres of someone who has tested positive for 15 minutes of more.
It should say: “The app has detected that you have been in contact with someone who has coronavirus.
“Please stay at home and self-isolate to keep yourself and others safe.”
One confused person told The Sun today: “I got an app notification saying ‘possible Covid exposure’, but it doesn’t say anything when you click on it.
“I was so confused as to what to do. And what if you miss it, or swipe past it?”
And others have taken to social media to express their confusion about what to do.
One user, named Rob said: “I received an app notification – possible covid exposure. App doesn’t say anything.
“Called 119 who had no idea about the app and even said they hadn’t downloaded it.
“What am I supposed to do?
And another user, Frederika Roberts said: “@MattHancock can you please explain/clarify confusing and scary “exposure notifications” that don’t come with instructions to self-isolate? My daughter, a med student, woke up to a notification and is now terrified in case she infects others or gets ill…
“Please sort this out! We need clarity, not more fear and confusion!”
The Department for Health did not respond to an immediate request for comment on the notifications on the app.
The app has been plagued with issues since its launch last week.
At the weekend users were not able to upload their coronavirus tests to the app.
Old tests that have been done beforehand can’t be put in either.
And it was reported they cannot share negative results – a code is only given out with a positive test.
The app also can’t work on older phones which don’t have bluetooth enabling.
And it needs a new IOS upgrade for some phones too.
If you’re told to isolate by the app, it is not legally binding, either.
Only if you are rung by NHS test and trace do you have to – or you could face a £1,000 fine.
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The former chief executive of Sainsbury’s is to take over as testing director at NHS Test and Trace, it was revealed today.
Mike Coupe, who retired as chief executive officer of Sainsbury’s at the end of May, is set to replace Sarah-Jane Marsh who is returning to her post as chief executive of Birmingham Women’s and Children’s NHS Foundation Trust.
Baroness Dido Harding, who runs NHS Test and Trace and is interim executive chairwoman of the National Institute for Health Protection, said in an email to staff that Mr Coupe “will bring a wealth of experience in large scale supply chains, logistics and digital transformation”.