United Kingdom track-and-trace up soon, despite issues: minister

Grant Boone
May 23, 2020

"We have growing confidence that we will have a test, track and trace operation that will be world-beating and yes, it will be in place by June 1", Jonnson said.

The app is now being trialled on the Isle of Wight as part of the Government's "test, track and trace" strategy to ease the country out of lockdown.

James Brokenshire, the junior interior minister in charge of security, said there were technical issues with the app but that traditional measures would be used until it works.

"BCS is clear that if done ethically and competently a tracing app can make a huge contribution to stopping the spread of Covid-19", said Dr Bill Mitchell, director of policy at the BCS.

Brokenshire informed Sky News that the application "will be introduced in the coming weeks in parallel" with the system using track and trace team.

The NHS Confederation is calling on the government to finalise a test, track and trace strategy to avoid a potential second surge of COVID-19 cases. But an effective system is now seen as crucial to preventing a deadly second wave of the outbreak - and thus getting the economy working again after the lockdown.

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However, the main criticism of the app, which Levy didn't address, is that the United Kingdom has opted for a "centralized" model, where people who test positive for coronavirus upload all their recent contacts to a database, and those people are then contacted and warned.

Technology is the third plank of the system.

But Britain's system has been dogged by criticism: opposition lawmakers said an earlier promise of a nationwide roll-out of a National Health Service (NHS)-developed smartphone app had slipped from the middle of this month.

Some 42% said they would download it for themselves, with 36% saying they would not and 21% undecided.

"We are absolutely clear that the test and trace system needs to be in place, and that is on track for delivery on 1 June", Matt Hancock said on Thursday.

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