Islanders thanked for trialling app which has now been abandoned

By Carole Dennett Jun 18, 2020

Islanders have been thanked for the vital role they played in the development of contact-tracing app technology.

As the Government is due to officially announce the end of the NHS Covid-19 app trial, health secretary Matt Hancock said the feedback provided by Island residents would play an ‘integral’ part in the next phase of development.

When Mr Hancock called on Islanders to lead the way in the development of the pioneering technology, more than 54,000 responded by downloading the app, although there have been anecdotal reports of many people subsequently deleting it for a number of reasons, including battery drain and reports that it was not working properly.

Isle of Wight Council leader, Dave Stewart, said he had no doubt that the enthusiasm with which residents had approached the project had played a real part in helping to keep the rate of infection low on the Island. He said: “I have been overwhelmed — but not surprised — by the Island community’s willingness to lead from the front in the war on coronavirus, playing a vital role in the development of contact-tracing app technology.

“The valuable insight gained from trialling the app here will go on to inform the design of future developments which, I am sure, will lead to many lives being saved. To every Islander who downloaded the app, I would like to extend my own personal thanks and gratitude.

“The app project provided us with an opportunity to take part in something groundbreaking which would help protect the Island and the community — something which, I believe, it has achieved.

“We should also not forget that the app was just a small part of the wider NHS test and trace programme which has now launched nationally and which provides end to end testing and contact tracing.

“As we look to the future and the gradual easing of lockdown restrictions, we will continue to identify innovative ways in which to keep our community safe.”

Islanders can now uninstall the app from their mobile phones.

Isle of Wight MP Bob Seely, who heavily promoted the app and social distancing rules said he was sad at the decision. Mr Seely was subsequently found to have broken lockdown rules by attending a barbeque in Seaview with a number of people with second homes on the Island.  The incident has led to him being nicknamed ‘half a sausage Seely’ on social media, as he claimed that was all he ate at the event.