By Eleisha Kennedy • 15 July 2020 • 21:56
A new NHS contact tracing phone app caused a huge drop in Covid infection rates on the Isle of Wight, despite being scrapped by the government.
The government announced the app would be rolled out nationwide at the end of May but then ditched the project altogether in favour of manual contact tracing. However, research is showing that the Isle of Wight, having used the app, went from one of the highest R rates in England to the lowest after the launch of the app.
The decline in infection rates was greater for the region than anywhere else in the country and researchers behind the report expressed their disappointment that the app was not eventually deployed elsewhere, as it has great potential to contain new outbreaks of coronavirus.
The app’s trial started at the beginning of May on the Isle of Wight and the idea was to spread its use to the rest of England a few weeks later. However, the project was postponed until June, then to the winter, then finally ditched.
The research also shows that the app was able to reach more potential cases than the system of manual contact tracing. 160 cases were reported using the latter system between 6 May and 26 May, after which 163 people received the message to self-isolate. Compared to 1,524 reports to the tracing app which led to 1,188 received notifications.
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