James O'Brien caller: "International test and trace app was available since February"

8 October 2020, 12:44 | Updated: 8 October 2020, 12:50

By Fiona Jones

This caller told James O'Brien there has been readily available international test and trace software since February, as England's contract-tracing figures show this week has seen the fewest amount of people contacted since it began.

The Government's contact-tracing programme failed to reach more than 30% of close contacts of people who tested positive for the Covid-19 in England in what is the worst week on record since the beginning of Test and Trace.

Caller Grant works for an international health information system based out of Norway and they were "very very quickly" able to set up an international track and trace app "within a couple of weeks."

"The other thing about this piece of software is it is entirely open source so the British Government if they wanted to use it, they could just take it and and they wouldn't have to pay a fine for it," he said.

The caller confirmed James's clarification that this was different from the "Google/Apple app that we rejected, spent billions developing an alternative to, and then reverted back to when our own efforts failed miserably."

"Have you got a view on why in October we haven't got the test, trace and isolate system in place that according to you, Norway had nailed by February?" James asked.

The caller posited that from talking to those in the civil service, "there is a very Victorian level of working at the upper levels...and there's a lack of shifting [to] adopt technological things."

James said a reluctance to adopt new technology could be a reason, "although you'd think that with the coronavirus it'd be the monster at the door that would focus the mind."