OFFICIAL: CORONAVIRUS APP SCRAPPED BY GOVERNMENT AFTER ISLE OF WIGHT TRIAL

Published at:

Islanders were encouraged to download the app ahead of a nationwide roll-out, but now it has been announced that the Government is abandoning the centralised NHSX coronavirus track and trace app in favour of a Google/Apple alternative.

Over 54,000 Islanders are said to have downloaded the mobile application throughout May following a massive campaign. But question marks were soon raised when it became clear hardly anyone was receiving alerts and then the app was not updated when the list of symptoms was expanded.

It has now transpired that issues with Apple’s iPhone models could not be overcome.

Article continues below this advertisement

This morning Island Echo reported that the app was being put on the backburner. Now, the Department for Health and Social Care has announced that the project is being officially abandoned in its current, centralised form.

Another app using Google’s and Apple’s technology is expected later in the year. That means, for now at least, Islanders can delete the app they have been carrying around for the past 5 weeks or so.

Health and Social Care Secretary Matt Hancock has said:

“We knew from the start that it was imperative to be bold but to also test and learn as we developed this new technology.

“The NHS Covid-19 app has undergone some of the most rigorous testing in the world and the Isle of Wight has led the way.

Article continues below this advertisement

“I want to thank everyone of the island who played such a vital role in getting behind the app, downloading it and providing invaluable feedback. This will be integral as we move into the next phase of development.

“As we enter this next phase of research and development we remain determined to continue in our ambition to develop an app which meets the technical, security and user needs of the public and which can complement our existing rigorous and effective testing and contact tracing service: NHS Test and Trace.

“This will support our vision of helping more people get back to the most normal life possible at the lowest risk.

“A huge number of people on the island have dedicated time to this project and we are hugely grateful. Residents on the on the Isle of Wight have led the way and the feedback from islanders will remain at the heart of our approach going forward.”

Isle of Wight MP Bob Seely said:

“I am sad at the decision not to proceed with the app, but the important thing is that the Island played its role in testing the app. It was a trial. The point of a trial is that we get to see if the app worked or not.

“The Island played its part well and most importantly proved its worth as a partner with central Government.

“I want to thank everyone who downloaded the app and who contributed. We played our part in the test. That’s all we could do, and we did it. The Island provided invaluable feedback to the NHS which has informed the future approach and direction of research.

“There have been in the past year, four national trials in which the Island has had an important role. First, the use of high-tech to push forward plans for telemedicine, second the use of drones to support St Mary’s Hospital, third, the trace and test app, and fourth, use of steroids to treat Covid-19.

“At least three out of those four pilots were, or are being, successful, and even the app has been worthwhile in terms of informing next steps.

“I understand that elements of the app have worked well. It was good at measuring distance and Islanders like the idea of a companion app, helping to report symptoms. It may have caused some suppression of the virus, as indicative figures last week showed. It worked well on Android phones. However, the app was very poor at picking up iPhone interactions.

“I understand that the Google/Apple app also has flaws, especially at measuring distance, but we I suspect have little choice but to work with Apple since the app will have to work on their phones.

“I will continue to champion the Island as the right place to pilot schemes. I will do so because we need to get the Island at the front of the queue, not the back, where we have been for too long. I am unapologetic about this.

“Once again, thank you to Islanders for their support for the app project.”

It could be argued that the Isle of Wight has done incredibly well out of the app trial with money-can’t-buy publicity, as Health Secretary Matt Hancock declared on national TV “Where the Isle of Wight goes, Britain follows”.

Vix Lowthion, spokesperson for the IW Green Party, disagrees:

“The good people of the Isle of Wight deserve an apology from this government. The decision to shelve the NHSX App was not taken today – they have known for weeks that the App just does not work, and yet still encouraged Islanders to download it. Why?

“Islanders stood up to the mark and downloaded it in good faith to ‘do their duty’ and ‘lead the way’. The reality was that the App had no NHS Ethics Approval, no privacy legislation and no declared success criteria”.

Isle of Wight Labour’s Richard Quigley has said:

“Obviously it’s disappointing that the trial isn’t leading anywhere. However, even if the government was unable to take this further, Isle of Wight residents should still be proud that so many of them were willing to participate in trying to make something constructive happen during the crisis”.

The views/opinions expressed in these comments are solely those of the author and do not represent those of Island Echo. House rules on commenting must be followed at all times.
31 Comments
Oldest
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Derek
Derek
8 months ago

Who takes notice of what Vic Lowthion says? Regardless of how you voted, the government tried to set up a system to combat this virus. If this didn’t work then it was not for want of trying. The Green party do nothing but complain about whatever anyone else does.

John Gullible
John Gullible
Reply to  Derek
8 months ago

Unfortunately Derek, the government chose to make their own app despite knowing they won’t get the right results with apple phones.

They did the same with immigration app and messed that up too.

As all other countries are doing, a decentralised app is the way to go.

I wouldn’t be praising them for going down this route. All experts in the field said this would not work due to Apple.

I’d like to know how much NHSX were paid for this and how much tax payer money wasted. I would also like to know if the contract went out to tender or was just awarded to conservatives mates.

Quaesitor
Quaesitor
Reply to  Derek
8 months ago

You do realise that, despite being told repeatedly that a perfectly serviceable app was available from Google and Apple – FOR FREE – the Government gave the contract to develop a ‘world beating’ app to one of Dominic Cummings’ acquaintances? There was no need to ‘set up a system’.
 
Are you that naïve to not realise that this was a job for the chums and the rest of us (you, me, your grandchildren) can pay for it? Vix Lowthion was spot on.

Truebritt.
Truebritt.
Reply to  Quaesitor
8 months ago

Where’s your proof?

Allchie
Allchie
Reply to  Derek
8 months ago

Truth is the Government (PM and Health Secretary in particular) rushed the deployment of the app through under mounting criticism of their handling of the pandemic. It was never fully tested ahead of trial and more taxpayers money spent on a failure waiting to happen.

Mark
Mark
8 months ago

This government has been awful in dealing with this pandemic the fuss and nonsense over the tracing and tracking demonstrates their incompetence Johnson is out of his depth he should resign and apologise for his incompetence and then disappear from politics for good

Wasp Star
Wasp Star
Reply to  Mark
8 months ago

“I’m shaking hands continuously. I was at a hospital the other night where I think there were actually a few coronavirus patients and I shook hands with everybody, you’ll be pleased to know. I continue to shake hands. I want to stress that for the vast majority of the people of this country, we should be going about our business as usual.” Boris Johnson March 3rd.
The man is a clown and it is so depressing that Mark’s comment has been marked down by the blue tinted glasses brigade. He is absolutely right.

Realist
Realist
Reply to  Wasp Star
8 months ago

You know in those alien films with the classic line ‘Take me to your leader’ – we would put forward Trump and Johnson as the best the human race can offer. Sad but true. Yes I agree with you Wasp Star.

Truebritt.
Truebritt.
Reply to  Realist
8 months ago

Sad but probably true

AMA
AMA
Reply to  Wasp Star
8 months ago

You complete tosser

Wasp Star
Wasp Star
Reply to  AMA
8 months ago

Wow, what a well thought out, reasonably argued response, AMA.
If you were any less intelligent, you’d need watering.

Truebritt.
Truebritt.
Reply to  AMA
8 months ago

He was quoting Johnson

Wasp Star
Wasp Star
Reply to  Truebritt.
8 months ago

If that’s the case, I apologise profusely.
I get abuse every time I make an anti Boris comment.

Truebritt.
Truebritt.
Reply to  Mark
8 months ago

Where’s your proof?

John Gullible
John Gullible
Reply to  Truebritt.
8 months ago

Truebritt, carry on believing in unicorns if it helps. There’s lots of proof of huge issues related to covid19 response. Even if you only look as far as this Apple iPhone app issue/debarcle.

It was clear a long time ago that the app would not work due to reliance on iPhone staying alert whilst out meeting other phones as they do not operate the same as android.

Our gov current stance is that we have always looked at two options (backing both horses – Matt Hancock) yet today apple states it knows nothing of our government talking with them about an app.

I could go on all day trying to give you evidence you have requested but it’s pointless as all you can see is unicorns.

Mr justice
Mr justice
8 months ago

Bs system for a bs virus!

Richard
Richard
Reply to  Mr justice
8 months ago

Bs comment from a bs user.

Mojo dave
Mojo dave
Reply to  Richard
8 months ago

Bob the bellend

mr justice
mr justice
Reply to  Richard
8 months ago

Yes bob , as the old saying goes,they don’t like it up em!

Bert
Bert
8 months ago

What a farce, waste of time & money!

TONY
TONY
Reply to  Bert
8 months ago

Bit like HS2 and respraying a plane ! Niether of which improves my living standards ! Why do we pay taxes…for them to have a good laugh ?. Down with the woeful wasting…pump it into the NHS, instead if its as bad as they say !

Last edited 8 months ago by TONY
Phil E
Phil E
8 months ago

If this was a private business venture, would it have ended up like this? Because its public money, government just waves it away along with its other massive debt. Writing was on the wall at an early stage. Isle of Wight gets a pat on back though.
 
 
 

Last edited 8 months ago by Phil E
Mark
Mark
8 months ago

What a complete waste of money, and peoples time. Track and Trace, what a waste.

VENTNOR
VENTNOR
8 months ago

Load off bullshit…….. Mugs for putting it on your phone

Original Mark
Original Mark
8 months ago

Already pre-deleted the app from my phone this morning in readiness for the inevitable.

oldbutalive
oldbutalive
8 months ago

Well ………….
 
 
Well BJ, DC and the local Bob think it was brilliant, so they won’t listen, they appear to do what they think is right, and totally ignore everyone else.
 
Just easier to say “no comment”.

Pipie
Pipie
8 months ago

iphones are notorious for not being able to transfer data using bluetooth

Chris
Chris
8 months ago

It’s very very important to download and use the app it WILL save lives track and trace do the right thing…………… You can delete it now it doesn’t work. What do you want us to do next??? Baaaaaaaa

Uncle Albert
Uncle Albert
8 months ago

“During the war” Del Boy we had lots of set-backs. But in the end we found the right plan. Why are you lot all so blo*dy negative. If you have the answer then tell all. No one is remotely interested in your negative political bluster.

Terry
Terry
8 months ago

Government should have researched this before pushing it forward at great expense to a Tory cronie to develop. Should have used the Apple version, saved the money and given it to NHS. But no, GCHQ, recommended going with the Govts. Centralised App. instead of the Decentralised Apple version. Make your own minds up.

mr justice
mr justice
8 months ago

Maybe just maybe the truth is ,people just didn’t want to get involved with this, and showed the liars (government) that they don’t believe everything they say. Hence it’s on the back burner, until they can find a way to make it law!

Football Betting Site Betway
 

Join our daily newsletter

News, Traffic & Travel Tweets