COVID-19: ‘Pingdemic’ record numbers as 689,313 alerts sent from NHS app in a week in England and Wales | UK News

COVID-19: ‘Pingdemic’ record numbers as 689,313 alerts sent from NHS app in a week in England and Wales | UK News

A record 689,313 alerts were sent to users of the NHS COVID-19 app in England and Wales in a week, new figures show.

The alerts have been issued as NHS Test and Trace figures showed nearly 600,000 people were identified as coming into close contact with someone who had tested positive in the week up to 21 July.

The combined figures mean more than a million people may been told to self isolate during this week-long period.

Ping alerts tell people they have been in close contact with someone who has tested positive for coronavirus.

The latest number was recorded in the week up to 21 July and is an 11.4% increase on the week before.

The previous week’s numbers showed 618,903 people were pinged by the app.

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Businesses in all sectors have complained that they are struggling to maintain operations when so many staff have been told to stay at home to break the transmission.

The car industry has joined calls for the government to bring forward the date for exempting fully-vaccinated adults from self-isolation rules.

It comes after a slump in production blamed on the so-called “pingdemic”.

Stock levels in relation to expected sales across the distribution sector reached a new record low this month, according to a key business survey.

Retailers are fretting over supplies and staffing as a result of the number of people being pinged.

This week the government said it was expanding its daily contact testing for frontline sectors who are exempt from isolation.

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Raab ‘confident’ more countries set for green list

A total of 2,000 sites across the country are available for people working in prisons, waste collection, defence, the food industry, transport, Border Force and police and fire services.

Daily negative test results will enable eligible workers who have been alerted by the NHS COVID-19 app or called by NHS Test and Trace as coronavirus contacts to continue working.

The number of alerts has been reported as the latest NHS Test and Trace figures show a total of 307,758 were confirmed to have coronavirus at least once in the week to 21 July.

597,260 people were identified as coming into close contact with someone who had tested positive, government figures show.

This is the highest number recorded since 13 January.

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Meanwhile, the government has said it is “increasingly confident” more countries will soon be added to the amber and green travel lists.

Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said he believes opportunities for international travel can in the near future be opened up further as “the momentum forward is positive”.

Mr Raab also did not rule out the possibility of popular holiday hotspot Spain moving to a different category in the government’s traffic light travel system at the next review point a week on Thursday.

Professor Rowland Kao, who sits on the government scientific advisory committee SAGE, told Sky News on Thursday that allowing vaccinated people into the country increases the chance certain variants will spread.

He said: “We are in a very nuanced position right now where we have that mix of a large number of vaccinated people, and a large number of people getting infected, which makes it extremely much more likely that these variants will occur.

“And if they occur, and if we’re allowing vaccinated people in the country under those conditions, it increases the chance that those variants will spread within Great Britain.

“And when that we also have the problem that because infection numbers are so high right now, we don’t actually have the tools in place so that we can rapidly identify where those variants might be.”

The system is struggling to cope with the huge number of positive cases

Analysis by Thomas Moore, science correspondent

The number of people being told to self-isolate is still rising sharply, despite cases falling from their peak, according to the latest NHS data.

Figures show almost 690,000 people in England and Wales were pinged by the COVID19 App in the week to July 21st.

That’s up 11.4% on the week before and is the highest since the App was launched last September.

New figures from NHS Test and Trace also show a big rise in the number of contacts being identified as possibly infected – 597,000 in the week to July 21st, up 26% on the previous week.

According to the daily dashboard, reported COVID cases peaked on July 17th so these statistics cover a few days of rising numbers, then the start of a week-long decline.

They obviously tell us that lots of people are being told to self-isolate, but they don’t tell us how many went on to develop the disease.

As more people are fully vaccinated, fewer contacts should be developing the disease.

The figures also show that the system is struggling to cope with the huge number of positive cases that need following up.

The prime minister had told the House of Commons that all tests would be turned around in 24 hours by the end of June.

But the NHS stats show it’s only 63.7%, down from 64.7% last week. That’s significant because speed is important when dealing with a fast-moving virus.



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