Boris Correct on International Track & Trace App Failures

At PMQs on Wednesday, Sir Keir appeared to score a victory in attacking the Government’s track and trace app failure. Fighting back over the failure of their NHSX app, Boris asked Starmer whether he could “name any country in the world that has a functional contact tracing app“; Keir immediately shot back with “Germany“.

Full Fact has now examined Boris’s claim that “no country currently has a functioning track and trace app” and concluded the PM is correct, on the basis that while multiple countries – including Germany – have launched apps, the low download rates mean they cannot be accurately described as “functioning“. “It’s too early to say whether they will be effective in helping combat Covid-19.”

We were told at least 80% of the country must download the app for it to be effective. In France, the figure stands at 2%; in Germany, 14%. In Singapore, the failure to persuade more than 20% of the population to download the track-and-trace app has forced the Government to developwearable tracking devices” for citizens, which will not rely on possession of a smartphone. A policy beyond Orwell’s imagination…

This isn’t to say Boris has covered his back; he may be right about other countries’ failings, however it was still the UK government’s policy of centralisation, refusing the Apple-Google alternative, that led to Britain’s dismal and costly NHSX app failureIn 11 days, 65% of Isle of Whiters downloaded the Coronavirus app – one of the highest download rates in the world. The NHSX failure has set back by months a vital initiative on which Britons were clearly willing to set the global standard…

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