United Kingdom says dealing with technical issues of track and trace app - minister

An individual using a phone

An individual using a phone

A smartphone app is now being tested, while the government has also promised to recruit 25,000 tracing staff.

The NHS Confederation, which represents organisations across the healthcare sector, has written to health secretary Matt Hancock voicing concerns over an apparent lack of clear strategy by the government.

Britain is now testing the app on the Isle of Wight off the southern coast of England where the government says more than half the residents had downloaded it.

Asked when the app would launch, James Brokenshire, the security minister, admitted he was "unable to give you that definitive timeline", but argued that it did not matter because the app was "only one part of the system".

Tracking and tracing those infected is seen as crucial to preventing a deadly second wave of the outbreak - and thus getting the economy working again after the lockdown.

Mr Hancock said they would be particularly useful for health and care staff, adding: "This will enable health and care workers to carry on with their shift or immediately isolate on the same day, and could eventually offer the same benefit to the whole country". But he said the tests would significantly boost understanding of the spread of the virus and the risks it poses in Britain.

Mr. Bryant, on behalf of the National Centre, said "It is the case that we experienced some temporary operational issues in our laboratory network and that had a short-term impact on both the turnaround time for samples and the proportion that returned a "void" result".

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Widespread contact tracing was abandoned in mid-March as the number of cases soared in the United Kingdom, but it is now seen as a crucial component of efforts to safely ease the lockdown while avoiding a second wave of Covid-19 infections.

"This is about saving lives and protecting the NHS: if we do not set up the right system, involving local agencies, we will put patients and NHS staff at risk".

As of Thursday morning, 250,908 people in Britain have tested positive, said the department. When asked if he would take it, he said he felt there was no need to make such statements.

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"These tell you if you have had the virus, and have developed antibodies in response that might help you to fight the virus in future", he said.

Brokenshire also said restrictions on arrivals in Britain from overseas would be introduced early next month.

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