Nearly 700,000 people 'pinged' by NHS Covid app in a week

29 July 2021, 10:52 | Updated: 29 July 2021, 13:25

There have been a record number of people 'pinged' by the Covid-19 app in the last week
There have been a record number of people 'pinged' by the Covid-19 app in the last week. Picture: Alamy

By Sophie Barnett

A record 689,313 alerts were sent to users of the NHS Covid-19 app in England and Wales in the week to July 21, new figures show.

The alerts were sent notifying users of a close contact of someone who tested positive for Covid-19, telling them they have to isolate.

Last week's number pinged was also a record. In the week to July 14 618,903 alerts were sent.

Yesterday Boris Johnson told LBC it was 'nailed on' that from August 16 doubly jabbed people would no longer have to self-isolate for 10 days if advised to by the NHS app.

App pings caused chaos with staff shortages reported at pub chains, supermarkets, transport networks, council bin collections and other businesses, with services badly impacted.

Last week there were scenes of shops with empty shelves as supermarkets struggled to staff branches and haulage firms struggling to distribute goods, reporting drivers were being told to isolate.

This week the Government said it was expanding its daily contact testing for front-line sectors who are exempt from isolation.

A total of 2,000 sites across the country are available for people working in prisons, waste collection, defence, the food industry, transport, Border Force and police and fire services.

Daily negative test results will enable eligible workers who have been alerted by the NHS Covid-19 app or called by NHS Test and Trace as coronavirus contacts to continue working.

But one in four young adults who test positive no longer follow the rules for self-isolating, a new survey published on Thursday suggested.

A total of 307,758 people tested positive for Covid-19 in England at least once in the week to July 21, up 18% on the previous week, according to the latest Test and Trace figures.

It is the highest number since the week to January 13.

Some 63.7% of people who were tested for Covid-19 in England in the week ending July 21 at a regional site, local site or mobile testing unit - a so-called "in-person" test - received their result within 24 hours.

This is down slightly from 64.7% in the previous week.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson had pledged that, by the end of June 2020, the results of all in-person tests would be back within 24 hours.

He told the House of Commons on June 3 2020 he would get "all tests turned around within 24 hours by the end of June, except for difficulties with postal tests or insuperable problems like that".

Of the 295,315 people transferred to the Test and Trace system in the week to July 21, 14.8% were not reached and therefore could not be asked to provide details of recent close contacts.

This is the highest proportion of people not reached since the week to October 14 2020.

Some 85.1% were reached, while 0.1% did not provide any communication details.

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