Most people aren’t self-isolating for full 10 days after getting pinged - LBC poll reveals

10 August 2021, 16:57 | Updated: 10 August 2021, 17:38

People haven't been isolating for the full length of time, a poll reveals
People haven't been isolating for the full length of time, a poll reveals. Picture: Alamy
Rachael Venables

By Rachael Venables

Most people aren’t self-isolating for the full 10 days despite being told to do so by the NHS Test and Trace App, according to an exclusive poll for LBC.

Our polling of 1,000 people found 50% (523) had downloaded the NHS app, with a further 26% getting “pinged” at least once with an alert to self-isolate.

Under half of respondents (46%) said they adhered to the ‘legally non-binding’ instruction to stay at home for up to 10 days.

That means more than half of people polled did not isolate for the full length of time.

What’s more, despite the risks to others, 15% said they still went to work, 12% to places like cafes, cinemas and restaurants, and another 12% still saw friends or relatives who are ‘clinically vulnerable.’

Dr Deepti Gurdasani, Senior Lecturer at Queen Mary University says more should have been done financially to encourage people to isolate. She said: “One of the reasons with this problem is that people aren’t being supported properly to isolate.

“This is a problem that hasn’t been addressed, despite billions going into the test, trace and isolate system.”

LBC’s data also shows 27% of respondents who had downloaded the app say they have either already deleted it, or permanently switched off the Bluetooth ‘contact tracing’ function.

Another 15% of users said were planning to do just that by the end of August.

It’s a sign of how fed up the public has grown with the so-called ‘Pingdemic,’ with the latest figures showing nearly 400,000 people a week are being told to isolate by the app alone.

The political uproar lead to the Government changing the app’s settings from 2nd August to only alert people who had been close to someone within two days of their positive test, instead of five.

Boris Johnson told LBC plans to lift self-isolation requirements for people who are double vaxxed from next Monday was ‘nailed on.’

But Dr Gurdasani says she thinks this sort of messaging which stresses “isolation is an inconvenience” is part of the problem. “Our Government is talking about removing isolation for contacts of cases who are vaccinated, which is the complete opposite to what other countries are doing with the delta variant.

“The CDC actually released measures among vaccinated people, like mask mandates, but they’ve had to go back, because their data and our data now shows that even if you are vaccinated you have a fairly high risk of getting infected - and if you do get infected you are as likely to transmit.

“All of that suggest that what the Government is doing is not based on any sort of evidence, but unfortunately this is the messaging that is getting across to people.”

The data also showed just 10% of respondents who were told to isolate, actually went on to test positive for Covid-19.

The Department for Health responded by urging the public to continue using the NHS COVID-19 app as restrictions lift.

Saying new data shows it helped to avert over 50,000 cases in the first 3 weeks of July – with up to 2,000 cases prevented a day.