THE UK Health Secretary Matt Hancock has said that the country will launch a Covid-19 tracking app pilot scheme tomorrow (May 5).
In the daily coronavirus briefing at Downing Street, Hancock said that the UK is now in a position to carry out a “test, track and trace” programme to identify and track those with Covid-19 symptoms, adding that the trial would take place on the Isle of Wight.
An NHS app used in the scheme is already being trialled on the island, and the Health Secretary said that all residents will be asked to download it.
“The programme will allow the government to take a “more targeted” approach to the lockdown while containing the virus,” he added.
Hancock said the NHS track and trace app will take “full consideration” of privacy concerns, which have been raised in relation to the approach in the UK and elsewhere.
He stated that “proximity information” will be logged securely on people’s mobile phones, and added that the Bluetooth signal used to register people’s interactions is designed to “conserve battery life.”
The briefing said that the number of people who have died with confirmed coronavirus across all settings in the UK has risen by 288 to 28,734.
Mr Hancock said that the reported figure could be lower than the actual number because of delays in reporting weekend deaths.
He confirmed that 85,186 coronavirus tests were provided in some form on Sunday, below the government’s 100,000 tests-a-day target.
Also in attendance at the briefing was England’s deputy chief medical officer Jonathan Van Tam, who said that there were “steady but absolutely consistent declines” in hospital admissions in England.
He added that with the falling death tolls and new coronavirus cases, it was clear that “we are past the peak” of the pandemic.
Van Tam stated that NHS capacity is “in a good position.”
“It is “clear we are past the peak” but we have to “keep a close eye” on the rate of infection,” he commented.
He admitted to “continuing challenges” over protective equipment but that “we are in a good position on testing,”
“Deep scientific discussion” over the risk of a second peak of infections is ongoing, Van Tam reflected.