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Pingdemic starts to ease as alerts on NHS app drop by 43% in one week

A total of 395,971 alerts were sent to users of the NHS Covid-19 app in the past week
A total of 395,971 alerts were sent to users of the NHS Covid app in the past week (Picture: AFP / PA)

The number of people told to self-isolate by the NHS Covid-19 app has dropped dramatically in a week.

A total of 395,971 alerts were sent to users in England and Wales in the week to July 28.

According to previous Government figures, this is down 43% on the previous week which saw 689,313 ‘pinged’ in a new record.

The lower figures come as the Department of Health and Social Care announced earlier this week that changes are being made to the NHS Covid-19 app so fewer people are forced to self-isolate.

Changes are being made to the NHS’ Covid-19 app so that fewer people are ‘pinged’ and forced to self isolate.

The app’s system has been tweaked so a person who has been near a positive but asymptomatic case will only have to quarantine if the contact came two days prior to the test result, instead of the previous five.

A statement said: ‘The change will mean fewer contacts that took place when the positive case was unlikely to be at the peak of their infectiousness are advised to self-isolate, reducing the overall number of notifications sent by the app.’

It was stressed the sensitivity of the app is not being altered, and neither is the threshold at which people are deemed to be at risk of infection.

LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 31: Shoppers walk along Oxford Street on July 31, 2021 in London, England. The United Kingdom, considered one of the advanced world's worst hit economies by the pandemic, is predicted by the IMF to a 7% growth increase since Covid-19 lockdown measures were eased on 19th July. People are still expected to observe social distancing and wear masks but these are no longer mandatory. (Photo by Hollie Adams/Getty Images)
It comes as the Government made changes to the NHS Covid-19 app so fewer people are pinged (Picture: Getty Images)

The changes were made as Britain was plunged into a so-called ‘pingdemic’ – put the economy under strain and forced critical workers to stay at home even if they don’t have the virus.

Businesses warned the situation was ‘untenable’ and people working in the food industry said that on top of a shortage of workers, being made to self-isolate could lead to a drop in production.

To combat this the Government published a list of key workers who will be allowed to skip self-isolation instructions if they have received both their vaccinations ‘to avoid disruption to crucial services’.

Those working in medicine, food production and supply, energy, water, prisons, defence are some of the sectors which are exempt from quarantine.

According to the updated guidance, officials will ‘agree the roles and workplaces that are likely to meet the criteria’ for the self-isolation exemption ‘on a daily basis’.

And reports say double-jabbed people will not be legally obliged to take a Covid-19 test to avoid self isolation from next month.

It comes as nearly one in four people now say they have deleted or switched off the NHS Covid-19 app.

Get in touch with our news team by emailing us at webnews@metro.co.uk.

For more stories like this, check our news page.

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