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NHS Covid-19 app updated to notify fewer contacts to isolate

A change made today to the ‘logic' of the NHS Covid-19 App will result in fewer contacts being advised to self-isolate following a close contact with a positive case, easing the pressure on businesses, the health secretary has said today.

As part of the review, for people who input a positive test but are asymptomatic, the app will look back at contacts two days prior rather than five, as has previously been the case.

The change will mean fewer contacts are advised to self-isolate, reducing the overall number of notifications sent by the app.

This update does not impact the sensitivity of the app, or change the risk threshold, and will result in the same number of high-risk contacts being advised to self-isolate.

Health and social care secretary Sajid Javid said: “We want to reduce the disruption that self-isolation can cause for people and businesses, while ensuring we’re protecting those most at risk from this virus. This update to the app will help ensure that we are striking the right balance.

“It’s so important that people isolate when asked to do so in order to stop the spread of the virus and protect their communities.”

The government is urging the public to continue using the NHS Covid-19 App, with research showing it reduces the spread of Covid by around 4.3% each week, and for every 200-250 tests entered and shared in the app one person is prevented from being hospitalised from the virus.

It estimates that around 40% of the eligible population regularly use the app and around 50% of all reported tests are inputted.

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