Will you delete NHS Covid app or put up with pingdemic? Two opposing voices weigh inJuly 16, 2021
HALF a million people have been pinged by the NHS Covid app in just one week – as a cabinet minister admits it's too sensitive and will be changed.
Here, Sun royal snapper Arthur Edwards and Sam Carlisle reveal why they've decided to delete or keep the app.
‘I’m switching it off after I had to miss Charles shoot’
By Arthur Edwards, Sun Royal Photographer
ELEVEN days ago I was in a hotel room in Cardiff preparing my cameras before heading off to take pictures of Prince Charles at a country church in the west of Wales. Then my phone pinged.
The NHS Covid app I had installed last year, long before I’d been double- vaccinated, warned I had been within two metres of someone with Covid.
I was one of 520,194 people last week ordered to isolate immediately for ten days by an app that is outdated and bringing this country to its knees.
This week predictions are that another 900,000 people will be pinged by the app, which they voluntarily installed on their phones to help in the Covid fight.
I am convinced the software is now a major hindrance to the country.
It is estimated that next week 2.6million people, including a million kids at the start of the school holidays, will have their lives disrupted.
Public transport is in chaos as train crews are pinged.
For the first time in this pandemic, bins are not being collected, and food shortages are predicted as lorry drivers have to isolate.
I carry a testing kit with me every-where I go and upon being pinged, I immediately took a lateral flow test in my hotel room, which was negative.
PINNGED THROUGH WALL
My first thought was to simply ignore the app and carry on.
Thinking again, I realised that would be irresponsible so I called the Prince’s team and told them I would not be taking his picture.
After driving home from Wales, I booked a PCR test in Chelmsford, Essex.
Again, the result was negative.
To this day, I have absolutely no idea who I came into contact with or where we met.
But it seems your app may even ping if a next-door neighbour, on the other side of a dividing wall, is pinged and your phone wrongly thinks you’ve been in close contact.
What I do know is that I have now switched off the Covid 19 app and won’t be allowing it to put my life on hold again. This is not illegal.
I have decided not to delete the app just yet, but thousands have now wiped it from their devices and I can totally understand why they have done this.
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If I was self-employed, I’d have lost ten days’ money and if I was going on holiday I’d have had to cancel my break.
I have been told continually by different authorities that the double jab gives 98 per cent protection from death or being very ill if I do get Covid.
On my phone I also have the official NHS app, which carries proof that I’ve been jabbed twice.
I cannot understand why the two apps can’t talk to each other — so the Test And Trace app knows I have been double-vaccinated.
Under the current rules, people who are double-jabbed like me won’t be exempt from isolation until August 16 — and the country cannot afford another month of chaos caused by an app that is unfit for purpose.
‘Sad to cancel hol but alerts protect millions still vulnerable’
By Sam Carlisle, Sun writer and mum of two
OUR family should be happily crossing a campsite in Dorset right now, laden with lilos and heading to the beach.
Instead, we are sat staring at our fireplace and trying not to snap at each other.
Yep, we’ve been pinged by the Test And Trace app.
Despite all the hand-sanitising, distancing and mask-wearing, Covid has infiltrated my teenage son’s friends.
He and his mates are dropping faster than Italian footballers in front of a referee.
He has Covid. So it’s absolutely bang on that we should have been pinged, and his mates, and his mates’ families.
The dreaded ping is singing across the streets of South West London, where we live.
My daughter has missed her school graduation.
But I am glad the app is warning other families that we are at risk of spreading the virus.
When kids are in secondary school, you don’t have every parent’s mobile number or know their circumstances.
They might have vulnerable siblings.
FOURTH OR FIFTH WAVE
I know plenty of people in that situation who are living in fear of restrictions loosening.
Even if Dominic Cummings and Matt Hancock have behaved otherwise, we have a moral responsibility to keep everyone safe.
You might have fake “beeped” when at your local to meet mates. But wouldn’t you want to know if the bloke behind the bar had tested positive?
The scientists who advise Health Secretary Sajid Javid insist Test And Trace is doing a valuable job.
They believe pings averted 600,000 Covid cases and saved 8,000 lives last autumn.
The vaccine is working.
But there are millions of young people who have still not been jabbed.
The jabs need to work in tandem with isolating, hand-washing and staying in if we think we might have been in contact with someone who tested positive.
Only six per cent of those people who are pinged test positive for the virus.
If, like me, you run your own business, or work a zero-hours contract, being pinged is more than just a matter of a cancelled holiday, it could mean financial hardship.
But surely it’s better for the Government to help those people rather than risk serious illness or death in a fourth or fifth Covid wave.
The app is pinging so much now, simply because there is a rise in cases across the country.
I appreciate I sound like a school swot, but I’d much rather a pingdemic than an extended pandemic.
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