Reminder to please keep your distance!

Island residents are being reminded to make sure they adhere to the two-metre social distancing measures brought in because of the coronavirus pandemic, and not to believe they are safer just because they have downloaded the contact tracing app, being trialled on the Isle of Wight.

Simon Bryant (pictured), the Director of Public Health at Isle of Wight Council, has emphasised: “The app is just one of the tools we use in our box, along with social distancing and hand hygiene, and is not a cure.

“We have just had a sunny spell, and we have been working with colleagues across the Island to make sure that people support the social distancing measures. We understand where the areas are that social distancing may not be so closely followed, so we are sending out messages all the time reminding people to support the social distancing measures.”

There are also concerns the tracing app could be misused, with mischief-makers reporting they have coronavirus symptoms just to spark an alert. Dr Geraint Lewis, the leader of the team behind the coronavirus contact tracing app, said: “It is a concern that people may try to make false alerts. We have worked with experts in behavioural science who have helped us phrase some of the working in the app to try to dissuade that kind of behaviour. We have not had any evidence of that happening on the Island, but it is something we are very careful about. When we move towards a national roll out, the plan is to ensure that when people have had their test results back, that is when we will give instructions for people to go into self-isolation.”

He added: “Trust and common sense are two very important issues. People need to trust the NHS sufficiently to download and use the app, and we need people to follow the advice the app tells them, because there are clever mathematics within the app to try to keep people safe.”