Island residents will next week be among the first in the country to have access to a new contact tracing app as part of the next phase of the government’s plan to tackle the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic. The news was widely expected as a senior Cabinet Minister Michael Gove had already told a committee of MPs last week that the app may be launched on the Isle of Wight, possibly followed by early trials of easing of lockdown restrictions.
Council leader Dave Stewart (pictured) said: “I am very pleased we can be the first place to use this new digital technology in the country.
“The app, which supports the wider programme of contact tracing by Public Health England, really does give us the opportunity to get ahead of the virus. People who have been in contact with symptomatic individuals will be identified much earlier than is currently the case and they will be provided with advice so they can act appropriately to protect themselves and our community.
“The opportunity to be part of this initial roll-out and lead the way for the rest of the nation is consistent with the council’s prime objective of securing the best possible protection for our whole community from Covid-19. I really do think this is an amazing opportunity for the Isle of Wight and one I know residents will join with me in embracing.”
Cllr Stewart has said that he does not want the Isle of Wight to be used as a guinea pig for trials of greater freedom of movement as he wants to protect the elderly and vulnerable members of society.
The news has received a mixed reaction on social media, some are welcoming the trial while others fear it will lead to a premature lifting of lockdown restrictions on the Island leading to a second wave of infections. It was announced yesterday that there have been a further two deaths at St Mary’s Hospital, meaning there has now been a total of 28 deaths within the NHS here.
Further details will be released later today.