The NHS Covid-19 app will ask for less self-isolation to reduce the impact of “pingemia” Bedford News

A large number of “pings” have been sent in recent weeks. (Photo illustration by Christopher Furlong / Getty Images)

The NHS Covid-19 app is currently being updated, so fewer contacts will be asked to self-isolate after an increase in the number of respondents since the lockdown restrictions ended.

Instead of checking contacts for five days before a positive test, the application will only roll back two days, although the sensitivity and risk threshold will remain unchanged.

Previously, the NHS Covid-19 app would ‘ping’ users if they came in contact with someone with coronavirus within five days of receiving a positive test.

The app will now be changed to only check contacts within the two days prior to a positive test, with the Department of Health and Social Affairs (DHSC) saying this will reduce contacts from when an asymptomatic person was little likely to be at the peak of contagiousness, and thus reduce the total number of pings.

This decision comes as analysis shows that during the first three weeks of July, the application could have avoided up to 2,000 cases per day and more than 50,000 cases of Covid-19, chains of transmission included, assuming 60% of users obeyed the instruction. isolate.

Scientists believe this may have saved 1,600 hospitalizations.

Dr Jenny Harries, Managing Director of the UK Health Security Agency, urged people to continue using the app, which she called “the easiest, easiest and fastest way to find out if you have been exposed to the virus “.

A DHSC spokesperson said:

“We want to reduce the disruption that self-isolation can cause to people and businesses, while ensuring that we protect those most at risk from this virus,” Mr Javid said.

“This app update will help us strike the right balance.

“It is so important that people isolate themselves when asked to do so in order to stop the spread of the virus and protect their communities. “

The large amount of self-isolation instructions sent to users of the NHS Covid-19 app in recent weeks has been dubbed the ‘pingdemic’.

Almost 700,000 alerts were sent by the app to users in England and Wales for the week through July 21, a record since its launch.

The high number of ping requests has resulted in staff shortages in several industries, including hospitality and retail.

Additional reports by PA.

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This notice was published: 2021-08-02 16:59:58

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