By Brenda Steele: 

Coronavirus: Contact tracing technology trialled at three health boards

Coronavirus: Test and trace ‘fully ready’ by the end of May

A contact tracing system to suppress coronavirus is to be trialled in three health boards from Monday, the Scottish government has said.

The software will be tested in NHS Fife, NHS Lanarkshire and NHS Highland.

Earlier this month, the government said testing and tracing would be “key” to the battle against the virus.

We do know from previous news items that ScotGov has been recruiting from charity and small organisations in the local areas – ones with local knowledge.

Then we have the big bang super-duper version from Wastemonster – sorry Westminster.

LONDON (Reuters) – Britain expanded its testing scheme on Monday to allow anyone aged over five with COVID-19 symptoms to book a test to see if they have the virus, health minister Matt Hancock announced.

Hancock also said the government had recruited 21,000 staff to work for its tracing system designed to find those who have had contact with someone who has the coronavirus.

The expanded testing programme and track-and-trace system are key parts of Britain’s plan to move back to normality after a viral outbreak which has killed more 40,000 people.

“We now have the elements we need to roll out our national test and trace service: the testing capacity, the tracing capability and the technology. Building that system is incredibly important,” Hancock said.

But alas, this National Roll-out is all based on using the Appwhich has not yet had the problems sorted out. Coronavirus: Isle of Wight contact-tracing app trial – a mixed verdict so far

It is 10 days since all Isle of Wight residents were invited to test the NHS app at the heart of the government’s test, track and trace strategy. So how’s it going?

Mixed would probably be a fair verdict.

The big concern was how many people would download it. Epidemiologists suggest that for the UK as a whole, about 60% of the population needs to install and use the software for it to live up to its full potential.

So when Downing Street says there have been roughly 60,000 downloads, that’s not a bad result. The island’s population is 140,000, and its inhabitants are slightly older and less likely to own a smartphone than the UK average.

But one cautionary note – that 60,000 may include some who downloaded it twice or are from the mainland.

Still that compares well with other experiments. About 20% of the population of Singapore downloaded its contact-tracing app, and last week an Australian government app had been installed by roughly a quarter of its population.

But here’s the key question – does it work? Are users being alerted to take action after coming into contact with the virus?

I won’t give the link out of principle but here is the headline  from the mailonline.

The government could DITCH its contact tracing app and ‘move to a different model’ after only 35% of residents download it on the Isle of Wight

So, do you want to take bets on which government will have a system up and running first?