In order to reduce the number of employees who are in quarantine because of contact with people infected with corona, the British government has had the settings of the Corona app changed. In the future, the application will only work if there has been a corona contact in the past two days, as the Ministry of Health announced on Monday. So far the search has gone back five days. The ministry emphasized that the update does not affect the sensitivity of the app, nor does it change the risk threshold.
Restriction of the “pingdemie”
Most recently, hundreds of thousands each week in England and Wales were asked to self-isolate because of close contact with people who later tested positive for the virus. The regulation had serious effects on the economy: pubs and restaurants remained closed, food shelves were empty, trains and buses stopped. The media call the phenomenon “pingdemie” – after the “ping” that informs users about a corona contact.
“This update to the app will help us find the right balance,” said Health Minister Sajid Javid. “We want to reduce the disruption that self-isolation can cause to people and businesses while making sure we protect the most vulnerable from this virus.”
Business representatives and conservative politicians welcomed the changes. The broadcaster Sky News reported, citing government officials, that the app had helped avoid more than 50,000 new infections and 1,600 hospital admissions in the first three weeks of July.