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Track and trace: Dr Jenny Harries discusses update to app

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Coronavirus figures demonstrate that the number of patients admitted to hospital and, consequently, dying from a Covid infection is on the rise. In the past seven days, 535 people have lost their lives. As the economy has fully opened its doors, the number of people who’ve been asked to self-isolate has been skyrocketing. The Government is now trying to “strike the right balance” between socio-economic factors and protecting people’s health.

Today, a major update to the NHS COVID-19 tracing app is part of that strategy, allied secret weapons as less people will be advised to self-isolate.

Previously, the app would alert contacts who have been near a positive Covid person in the past five days.

This lead to increasing disruption for businesses that had copious numbers of staff advised to self-isolate.

Branded the “pingdemic”, figures demonstrated that 689,313 alerts were sent to users of the app in England and Wales within seven days.

To combat such disorder, users of the app will only be notified if they’ve been in contact with a positive Covid person in the past two days.

Dr Harries emphasised that the app has prevented “2,000 cases each day” – even if only 40 percent of the population who are eligible to use it are doing so.

Now that fewer people will be asked to self-isolate, what exactly are the rules if you – or someone you live with – gets pinged?

I’ve got pinged – what should I do?

The NHS confirmed that you must “self-isolate immediately” if you’ve been pinged by the NHS COVID-19 app (or the NHS Test and Trace).

This means you must stay at home – and try to avoid contact with anybody you live with – for 10 full days.

You’re required to “not leave your home for any reason”, including food shopping, exercise, or appointments.

And visitors are also not allowed into your home, “except for essential care”.

What about the people I live with?

“Any people you live with and any people in your support bubble do not need to self-isolate if you do not have symptoms,” the NHS confirmed.

“If you live with someone at higher risk from COVID-19, try to arrange for them to stay with friends or family while you’re self-isolating,” the national health service added.

Now I’m showing symptoms, what do I do?

During your self-isolation period, if you begin to show symptoms of an infection, you’re required to order a free PCR test as soon as possible.

Covid symptoms:

  • A high temperature
  • A new, continuous cough
  • A loss or change to your sense of smell or taste.

“Anyone you live with must self-isolate until you’ve been tested and received your result,” the NHS added.

My test says I’m negative…

You will still be required to self-isolate for the 10 days since you’ve been pinged.

However, anyone you live with can stop self-isolating if they don’t have symptoms.

I tested positive… now what?

A positive Covid test result will require the 10-day self-isolation period to restart from the day after your symptoms began.

Anyone you live with will also need to self-isolate for 10 days from the day after your symptoms began.

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