The new coronavirus tracing app was hit by another fiasco last night after it prevented tens of thousands of users from logging their test results.
The app asks users to enter a special PIN code when they receive their results. But humbling to the government, only those privately tested for Covid were given the code.
Those tested by the NHS did not receive any – and therefore could not register their results.
Errors occurred in the app within a few hours of its launch last Thursday.
Matt Hancock's new coronavirus tracing app was hit by another fiasco last night after tens of thousands of users were prevented from logging their test results
It is based on Bluetooth to determine if someone has been within two meters of an infectious person for 15 minutes. However, other Bluetooth devices can interfere with the signal and generate a “false positive”.
To exacerbate the problems, the app has also been found to not work on millions of older smartphones.
Last night, Shadow Health Secretary Jonathan Ashworth said of the recent mishap, "This beggar believes."
The errors were revealed as:
- Nine police officers were injured in clashes with protesters in a protest in central London against coronavirus restrictions.
- The UK recorded 6,042 coronavirus cases yesterday. This was the fourth day in a row that the number of new infections across the country exceeded 6,000. Another 34 deaths were reported, bringing the total to 41,971.
- Boris Johnson faced a growing revolt of up to 70 Tory rebels over his plans to expand coronavirus emergency laws.
- The Prime Minister urged world leaders to overcome their differences as he made plans to prevent future global pandemics.
- An investigation by Mail am Sonntag found that a government advisor on Covid testing is a shareholder in the Swiss pharmaceutical company that has sold the UK millions of "pointless" antibody screening kits.
- A poll found that voters are now more concerned about the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on the economy than they are about the nation's collective health. The app is designed to alert people if they've come into contact with someone who tests positive for coronavirus.
They will then receive a text message, email, or phone call asking them to self-isolate for 14 days and book a test, but only if they develop symptoms.
Users will be asked to enter a code when they receive the results of their test.
However, it has been found that only second pillar tests – performed by commercial test centers – provide the relevant codes.
The app uses Bluetooth to determine if someone has been within two meters of an infectious person for 15 minutes. However, other Bluetooth devices can interfere with the signal and generate a “false positive”.
Although people tested under Pillar 1 – NHS and Public Health England – will continue to be contacted by NHS Test and Trace if they test positive, they were unable to log the result in the app and notify everyone they deal with were in close contact.
After a spate of complaints yesterday, the Department of Health and Social Affairs said it was "urgently" trying to fix the problem. Hours later, it promised that "anyone who gets a positive test result can log their result in the app" by requesting a code from NHS Test and Trace.
The latest official government figures show a total of 409,975 people have been tested in England since the app launched on Thursday morning, including 128,960 tests for Pillar 1 and 281,015 for Pillar 2. The error means the results of 31 percent of the tests performed on Thursday and Friday were not logged.
While the exact numbers are unclear, it may mean that hundreds of positive cases uncovered since the app's official launch have not yet been recorded.
The shocking oversight only came to light when a Twitter user asked how they could log their test result if they didn't have the code.
The official Twitter page for the NHS Covid-19 app states, “If your test was taken in a Public Health England laboratory or an NHS hospital, or as part of national surveillance tests by the National Statistics Office, the test results may not be currently linked to the app, whether they are positive or negative. & # 39;
The response met with outrage online, with many users wondering why it was being labeled an "NHS app" when it failed to recognize the tests the NHS was doing.
Last night, Mr. Ashworth said, “This is only asking for faith. How can this app be effective when someone is unable to link the tests done by the NHS or the tests done for monitoring? We all have an interest in this app working. That is why we have promoted their acceptance.
“This weekend ministers have put money into promoting this app in local and national newspapers. You need to explain how to fix this error quickly. "
A spokesman for the Ministry of Health and Welfare said: "We are working urgently to include positive tests for people who have not yet received a code in the Covid-19 app.
& # 39; NHS Test and Trace will continue to contact people via text, email, or phone if your test is positive and prompts you to self-isolate. For those who don't have a code, the contact tracers will soon be able to provide codes to insert into the app.
"When you book your test through the app, the results are automatically recorded and the isolation countdown is updated."
The Welsh government announced that it was only a problem in England. A tweet yesterday following the Department of Health and Social Affairs statement said, "This issue does not apply to Wales. We have decided to connect our laboratory testing systems across Wales to the NHS Covid-19 app."
The launch last week came after a four-month delay due to technological issues.
A test on the Isle of Wight had to be canceled after the original model failed to recognize iPhones.