Health Secretary looking at 'proportionate' solution to Covid app isolation 'pings'

8 July 2021, 08:23

Chancellor grilled on the NHS test and trace app

EJ Ward

By EJ Ward

Health Secretary Sajid Javid is "seeking advice" on a "proportionate" approach for self-isolation when people are 'pinged' by the NHS app, Rishi Sunak has told LBC.

Speaking to LBC's Tom Swarbrick the Chancellor Rishi Sunak said he could "understand" people's frustrations around being "pinged" by the NHS Test and Trace app.

His comments come after it was revealed many people are deleting the NHS Covid app from their phones over fears of being told to self-isolate.

Mr Sunak told LBC he had spoken to Health Secretary Sajid Javid about the system just yesterday.

He acknowledged that the public's "concerns and frustrations rest with the app."

Revealing the Health Secretary has asked for "advice" on the app to see if there is a "proportionate and balanced" approach for those told to self-isolate.

Tom Swarbrick pointed out how "frustrating" it could be for the public who were being prevented from going to work and from reentering the economy.

NHS video explains new contact tracing app for England and Wales

Yesterday, Boris Johnson defended his policy on coronavirus self-isolation in the face of a backlash from business and warnings it will lead to millions of people being forced to stay at home.

The Prime Minister has promised to tear up most of England's coronavirus regulations at Step 4 of the road map, expected on July 19, but a major relaxation of self-isolation rules will not be brought in until August 16.

The expected surge in cases as a result of restrictions being lifted is predicted to lead an increase in contacts being "pinged" by the NHS Covid-19 app or being told by contact tracers to isolate.

Mr Johnson told MPs: "All these decisions are a balance of risk. This is a highly contagious disease. We have to do what we can to stop its spread.

"We have been looking at all the data and trying to strike the right balance. You could say we are going to dispense altogether with self-isolation and move straight to a testing regime.

"The difficulty with that is that you would effectively be allowing many more people to be vectors of disease than by continuing with our plan."

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