The NHS Covid-19 app has been updated to notify fewer people to self-isolate following concerns of a so-called ‘pingdemic’.
As part of a review into the app, the logic which determines how close contacts are notified has been updated, effective immediately.
Previously the app notified those who had been in close contact with a positive case within the five days prior to that test being taken.
The app has been subject of discussion lately, as a record-breaking 700,000 people were sent self-isolation alerts in England and Wales in the last week.
But from now on, it will only notify the close contacts of a positive test just two days prior to that test being taken.
This will mean less people will be contacted by the app and reflects when people are at the “peak of their infectiousness”, according to the UK Government.
The UK Government says that this does not impact the sensitivity of the app, or change the risk threshold and will result in the same number of high-risk contacts being advised to self-isolate.
Health and social care secretary, Sajid Javid, said the move has been made to reduce the disruption caused to people and businesses over concerns of a ‘pingdemic.’
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He said: “We want to reduce the disruption that self-isolation can cause for people and businesses, while ensuring we’re protecting those most at risk from this virus. This update to the app will help ensure that we are striking the right balance.
“It’s so important that people isolate when asked to do so in order to stop the spread of the virus and protect their communities.”
New analysis from leading scientists shows that in the first 3 weeks of July, as cases were exponentially rising, the app averted up to 2,000 cases per day, and over 50,000 cases of Covid-19 including chains of transmission assuming 60% compliance with instructions to self-isolate. This is estimated to have prevented 1,600 hospitalisations.
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It also shows the app reduces the spread of Covid-19 by around 4.3% each week, and for every 200-250 tests entered and shared in the app one person is prevented from being hospitalised from the virus. Usage remains high, with around 40% of the eligible population regularly using the app and around 50% of all reported tests being inputted.
From August 7, fully vaccinated adults in Wales will be exempt from self-isolation if they are identified as a close contact of a positive Covid case. However, they will be advised to take a PCR test on day two and day eight. You can read about the new rules on self-isolation here.
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