22 July 2021

With the NHS COVID-19 app telling record numbers of workers to isolate following contact with someone with the virus the so-called ‘Pingdemic’ continues to cause disruption across the country.

Various organisations are reporting significant challenges due to the volume of staff absences - with supermarkets being in short supply of some products and petrol stations running out of fuel.

A ‘narrow list’ of sectors whose staff will be exempt from isolation following a ping from the NHS COVID-19 app was due to be published this afternoon (22 July).

The professional body for IT said today that it was not right to blame the app for the current crisis and that a better solution would be to recalibrate and clarify government policy.

Dr Philip Scott, Chair of the Health and Care Executive at BCS, The Chartered Institute for IT said: “I don't think the problem is the app, it is incoherent government policy. By removing all restrictions, it is blindingly obvious there will be more contacts and hence more pings.

“Isolation exceptions for fully vaccinated people who test negative, whether healthcare staff or other groups for economic reasons, does seem fairly pragmatic. Anecdotally, app usage is becoming very patchy now so lots of pings will never get triggered.”

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