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20 May 2020updated 06 Oct 2020 9:45am

Contact tracing will launch before NHS app ready for rollout, No 10 says

By Samuel Horti

The UK’s contact tracing system will launch before a crucial NHS app is ready to be rolled out nationwide, Downing Street has confirmed.

At the beginning of May, Health Secretary Matt Hancock said a full “test, track and trace” system, involving both an “army” of contact tracers and an NHS case tracking app, would be ready by the middle of the month. But that deadline has repeatedly slipped, and today the Prime Minister’s spokesman said that a “test and trace” system would launch before the NHS app was ready.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson said earlier that 25,000 contact tracers would be in place before the end of the month. However, his spokesman refused to say whether the opening of schools on 1 June was conditional on having a contact tracing system up and running.

The app is currently being trialled on the Isle of Wight.