Britain’s system for tracing those with the novel coronavirus was under fire on Thursday as it grappled with the development of a tracking app and health workers warned the government that unless there was clarity it could suffer a second deadly wave.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on Wednesday a “world-beating” programme to test and trace those suspected of having been in contact with people who have tested positive for COVID-19 would be in place by June 1.
Britain is currently testing the app – based on Bluetooth – on the Isle of Wight off the southern coast of England where the government says more than half the residents had downloaded it.
James Brokenshire, the junior interior minister in charge of security, said there were technical issues with the app but that traditional measures would be used until it works.
“The track and trace system is going to be ready,” Brokenshire told Sky News.
“We obviously want to see that the app is put in place well and effectively, learning from the experience on the Isle of Wight and dealing with all of the feedback that we’re receiving on some of the technical issues, to ensure that the app is as strong as we can make it.”
When asked directly if the system could work without the app, he said: “Yes”.