NHS COVID-19 app failed to ask users to self-isolate

The app has been downloaded 19 million times for use in Wales and England


NHS COVID-19 app failed to ask users to self-isolate. Source:

A code error in the National Health Service (NHS) app means users spent time with the COVID-19 positive patient before the isolation. Due to the code’s error, some users had to be next to a highly infectious patient five times. Through this health app, thousands of users were informed that they did not need to quarantine during the start of COVID-19.

Recently, a software engineer team discovered a problem in the NHS app and stated how the app decided who needs to isolate after the COVID-19 symptoms. However, it discovered that fewer warnings were issued regarding the pandemic.

The UK government didn’t reveal the exact figures of the people advised to keep themselves isolated. The same app warned the 25000 people in Scotland and Ireland of virus exposure.

As per health experts, the England version app used Google-Apple technology to identify COVID-19 patients most at risk, and it was designed according to international standards. The experts say that those at the right risk of the virus will receive self-isolation notification; it will be beneficial by reducing the chances of those with the virus transferring it to others. The root cause of the error was to incorporate a measure of infectiousness into the code of the COVID app.

As the app launched on the national level, it found that people infectious shortly after the virus’s symptoms show in them. The app’s algorithm changed so that the people with less infectiousness counted for almost two-fifth of the risk. However, the experts found the app’s error when they created a new version of the contact tracing app, which has a much better exposure rate, almost a meter away.

We’ve reported that the Scottish government has officially launched Protect Scotland, the COVID-19 contact-tracing app.

This app is an additional tool complementing existing person-to-person contact-tracing. That’s the main component of NHS Scotland’s Test and Protect system.


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