UK Covid live: Sunak hints at changes to test and trace app to limit numbers of people being asked to isolate

Good morning. Rishi Sunak, the chancellor, has been giving interviews this morning and he has hinted that the government may alter the way the test and trace app operates in response to concerns that millions of people face being “pinged” and told to self-isolate this summer because they have been near someone testing positive. Sunak told Sky News:

I’ve spoken to the health secretary about this and he’s aware of the frustration that people have around this.

We have two different systems for the test and trace: we have obviously the NHS one, and we also have the app. I know most people’s concerns rest with how the app is working and the health secretary is aware of that.

The app counts for the majority of the people who need to isolate, I understand, on the numbers and he’s looking at what the most appropriate, balanced and proportionate approach to isolation is in these circumstances.

According to Sky’s Tamara Cohen, the Department for Health is looking at changing the sensitivity of the app. That would mean changing its settings to exclude people whose exposure to an infected person has been more limited from getting an isolation alert.

Tamara Cohen

Department of Health are looking at the sensitivity of the Covid app, I understand.
The Chancellor told Sky News the health secretary is working on a “proportionate approach” given concerns about people deleting the app… more here: https://t.co/tDTa5I3hRp

July 8, 2021

I will post more from Sunak’s interviews shortly.

Here is the agenda for the day.

9.30am: NHS England publishes its latest monthly waiting list figures.

10am: Dido Harding, the former head of NHS Test and Trace, and Dr Jenny Harries, head of the UK Health Security Agency, give evidence to the public accounts committee.

10am: Lord Frost, the Brexit minister, and Brandon Lewis, the Northern Ireland secretary, speak at a Policy Exchange event.

Around 11.30am: Grant Shapps, the transport secretary, gives a statement to MPs. He is expected to announce that vaccinated people travelling to England from amber list countries will no longer have to quarantine from later this month.

Around 12.30pm: Boris Johnson makes a statement to MPs about the final withdrawal of British troops from Afghanistan.

2pm: Public Health England publishes its weekly Covid surveillance report.

Also, Sir Keir Starmer is on a visit to Northern Ireland today.

Politics Live has been a mix of Covid and non-Covid news recently and that will probably be the case today. For more coronavirus developments, do follow our global Covid live blog.

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