The NHS Covid contact tracing app used in England and Wales may need to be adjusted as coronavirus restrictions change.
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said he believed the end of the ‘1-metre+ rule’ on July 19 means the app’s sensitivity will need to be reduced. Currently the app detects the distance between users and the length of time spent in close proximity, at the moment 2m or less and more than 15 minutes.
The announcement comes on the back of a huge rise in alerts as the Delta variant infections surge.
The system allows people who test positive to anonymously share their test result, which can then trigger alerts for anyone who has been in close contact. Under existing guidelines, if you receive an alert you are asked to stay at home for up to 10-days.
The hospitality industry and NHS trusts have warned MPs that the knock-on effect for the economy and workplaces could be huge, as millions might be required to self-isolate this summer.
Speaking on BBC Breakfast Mr Shapps said:
“We will make sure the app is constantly reviewed so it’s appropriate for the period of time we’re living through, particularly as we’re getting to a majority of adults having been double-vaccinated.”
Mr Shapps claimed the app was still “very important as one of the tools in our armoury”. He said there were still large numbers of people downloading it and said he had not seen any official data showing people were deleting it.
“It’s in our interests as a society to carry on doing the things that protect each other.”