Record number of alerts sent to NHS Covid app users

22 July 2021, 11:02 | Updated: 22 July 2021, 12:51

Thousands have been asked to self-isolate by the NHS app.
Thousands have been asked to self-isolate by the NHS app. Picture: Alamy

By Emma Soteriou

Over 600,000 alerts were sent to NHS app users last week, figures have shown.

In the week up to 14 July, 618,903 alerts were sent to NHS app users.

Of the alerts sent between 8 July and 14 July, 607,486 were in England and 11,417 were in Wales.

It comes as the 'pingdemic' continues to force thousands across the country into self-isolation.

In the preceding week up to 7 July, 530,126 people in England and Wales were alerted by the app and told to self-isolate, meaning nearly 100,000 more people were alerted in the space of a week.

Shops have faced increasing pressure as a result, with shelves being cleared as people stock up in case they are told to isolate.

Meanwhile, growing numbers of supermarket staff being 'pinged' has also led to some stores being forced to close.

Read more: Supermarket shortages LIVE: Shoppers warned not to panic buy as some shops close

Read more: 'Pingdemic': One in three Brits either abusing or deleting NHS Covid app - survey

However, Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng told LBC on Thursday that Number 10 was still planning on maintaining self-isolation rules until the 16 August.

"I think that we can stick to August 16." he said.

"We looked at the evidence before. We wanted to lift restrictions on 19 July and there was clear evidence to suggest that that was a good idea.

"But we also wanted to have a precaution in terms of protecting our people. So I think that self-isolation, once you’re pinged, makes complete sense.

"These restrictions aren’t going to last forever."

Read more: Business Secretary: Self-isolation rules to stay until August 16, despite pingdemic

The government is soon set to announce the list of jobs exempt from isolation rules, with staff instead expected to provide a negative test.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced on Monday that a "small number" of key workers would be exempt from the requirement if they were fully vaccinated.

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan has since called for all of London's 999 workers, food supply and Transport for London staff to be added to the scheme to prevent further closures.

"If they continue to have these numbers of people being forced to self-isolate I worry about these essential services," Mr Khan told LBC earlier.

In recent days, the Metropolitan line was among those having been suspended due to staff being in isolation.

It is not currently a legal requirement to follow the app's instructions, but official NHS guidance suggests people "self-isolate immediately" when notified.