Covid contact-tracing could be turned off says MP Dan Poulter
- Credit: Sarah Lucy Brown
Suffolk MP and hospital doctor Dan Poulter has said that the NHS Covid app's contract tracing function has served its purpose, and that people should consider turning it off if they've been double jabbed.
The Central Suffolk and North Ipswich MP who works part-time in an a London hospital said it was a very blunt instrument which had an important role when few people were vaccinated.
"But at the moment, when most people have had two vaccinations, I think people may consider turning it off as the number of pings increases."
He was speaking as Bury St Edmunds MP and junior health minister Jo Churchill started a period of self-isolation after being "pinged" by the app.
Dr Poulter said: "There are people being pinged through the walls of their homes, there are people who get pinged because they're sitting upstairs on a double-decker bus and someone downstairs is identified as Covid positive.
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"You have vaccinated NHS staff who are told to turn off the app when they are work in hospital treating Covid patients who can get pinged on the way home because they pass someone who just walks past them.
"It could be if, God forbid, there is a new variant comes through and things get bad again in the winter that the app could be useful again - but I don't think it is now."
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Mrs Churchill tweeted her support for the app after being pinged: "I have been pinged by the Covid-19 app and I’m therefore self-isolating.
"It’s so important we all play our part to fight coronavirus. Isolation and vaccination are vital to helping stop the spread and protect everyone. If you haven’t yet been vaccinated, get the jab."
But Waveney MP Peter Aldous said he felt the government should look again at it and the effect it was having on business and public services.
He said: "I was talking to business leaders in my constituency today and they are beginning to get concerned about this. None of them had had to close down, but they were seeing the number of people having to self-isolate rising.
"I think the time has come when the government should look at how this working and how it is affecting people. It is something that is now coming on to the radar."
The rules are due to change after August 16 from when people who have been double-jabbed will be exempt from the self-isolation requirement when pinged.
There is a growing clamour among some MPs for that date to be brought forward.