NHS Covid-19 contact-tracing app for UK will not be ready before winter

Posted: June 25th 2020


Some interesting learning from the Isle of Wight underlies the approach emerging here and we shouldn’t perhaps just see the decision to slow track the app as a straightforward failure.

Speaking to the MPs on the Commons science and technology committee, Lord Bethell, the minister for innovation at the Department of Health and Social Care, also said the pilot scheme on the Isle of Wight had shown that people prefer to be contacted by a human being with the bad news, rather than by text message or email.

“We’re seeking to get something going for the winter, but it isn’t a priority for us,” he said.

In response to questions from the MP Graham Stringer, who said that “sounded like an argument against introducing it at all”, Lord Bethell said it was still the government’s intention to introduce the app.

The health secretary, Matt Hancock, said at the start of May that the app would be rolled out nationally in “mid-May”. When asked repeatedly about the delay, the government has insisted it is only a few weeks away.