back to article NHS COVID-19 app's first weekend: With fundamental testing flaw ironed out, bugs remaining are relatively trivial

England and Wales finally have a contact-tracing app. Released last Thursday, NHS COVID-19 allows public health authorities to identify potential disease carriers and stem the spread of coronavirus. But in the days since its release, some bugs have showed up. As with major software created under pressing time conditions, NHS …

  1. Pen-y-gors Silver badge

    Call me Mr Cynical but...

    One bug, which was eventually resolved by the developers on Sunday, meant users were unable to register a positive test if it was booked outside of the contact-tracing app.

    If a bug of that scale was still around when it went live, one has to wonder how thorough the testing was.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Was there a requirement for this?

      There should have been, of course, but if it wasn't there, then there would have been nothing to test against.

    2. RSW

      Re: Call me Mr Cynical but...

      It's not a bug though is it, just a part of the process that was not thought through before it went live. If it was a bug it would be a feature or selection available that didn't work

      1. Jeffrey Nonken

        Re: Call me Mr Cynical but...

        If that's how you define "bug" then, yes, you're correct.

        Not everybody would agree, I should think.

      2. VBF

        Re: Call me Mr Cynical but...

        Which is in fact a Usability Bug.

        Remember that there are many "flavours" of bugs

      3. Prst. V.Jeltz Silver badge

        Re: Call me Mr Cynical but...

        "It's not a bug, its a missing feature"

        to rework the old excuse

    3. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: Call me Mr Cynical but...

      one has to wonder how thorough the testing requirements analysis was.

      1. TimMaher Silver badge
        FAIL

        Re: Call me Mr Cynical but...

        The requirements analysis concentrated solely on the commercial lighthouse labs. The NHS hospitals, universities and the like were excluded, as were local authority testing labs.

        1. MrH
          FAIL

          Re: Call me Mr Cynical but...

          And there is no trace of the bug fix in the commit history, no tests, no documentation, nothing as far as I can see...or am I wrong? Those dont seem like trivial issues...

          Especially considering:

          https://www.gov.uk/guidance/exemptions-from-devices-regulations-during-the-coronavirus-covid-19-outbreak

          So, is it a medical 'device' ? If so its not a very good one apparently...

          1. thondwe

            Re: Call me Mr Cynical but...

            Not a bug with the App, a bug with the Testing Processes - Lighthouse Labs and Welsh NHS provide the code, NHS England lacked a single database for patient data so didn't - presume they now have some access to the code generating system...

    4. logicalextreme Silver badge

      Re: Call me Mr Cynical but...

      It baffles me that something that important is even the user's responsibility. The people responsible for delivering the test results to the testees could surely be delivering them en masse (and accurately) directly to the system that supports the app, given some sort of upfront anonymous identifier exchange.

      1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: Call me Mr Cynical but...

        How?

        Remember that this is a system which, for security reasons, does not present any user data relating to the app to central servers.

    5. Trollslayer

      Re: Call me Mr Cynical but...

      It was a requirements failure not a bug.

    6. CrazyOldCatMan

      Re: Call me Mr Cynical but...

      thorough the testing was

      It compiles! Time to release it..

  2. Tom7

    Old iPhones.

    It's good to see it here. A remarkable number of people I know seem to have old iPhones, though, and it seems to be a horrible battery drain on them.

    1. chivo243 Silver badge
      Thumb Up

      Re: Old iPhones.

      Any thing in the 5 range and under are aren't too difficult to plonk in a new battery. I replaced an iPhone 5 battery in about 10 minutes for under 20 credits, get the kit with tools included. The duration went from a few hours to more than a day, but I'm not a heavy user.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Old iPhones.

        But an iPhone 5 won't run the version of iOS required, so it's useless. (Whether you regard 'it' as meaning the app or the phone depends on your point of view, of course).

      2. tony72

        Re: Old iPhones.

        Apparently a moot point. My colleague has an iPhone 5s, and the app will not install. It says it need iOS 13.5 or later, and the latest available for his phone is less than that. So old iPhones may be supported, but it looks like not that old.

        1. DS999 Silver badge

          Re: Old iPhones.

          The 5S was introduced seven years ago. If that's "not that old" to you for a smartphone, what do you think is "not that old" for a PC? A Pentium MMX?

          1. genghis_uk Silver badge

            Re: Old iPhones.

            If it aint broke why fix it??

            An iPhone 5S will make calls, do messaging, anti-social media etc... OK, it does not run IOS 13 but largely so what?

            As for PC's, one of my friends uses a Macbook Pro circa 2010 running High Sierra to drive a recording studio with no problems (other than the DVD player has died so has a USB one plugged in). I have a dual processor server from 2008 that works fine as a HD video editing machine... Not exactly low end applications and maybe performance would improve with newer kit but they do the job that we ask of them.

            (Now I think about it my DJ'ing PC is a 2012 MBP and my studio PC is based on a 5 year old i7 - where did the time go???)

            1. DS999 Silver badge

              Re: Old iPhones.

              OK, it does not run IOS 13 but largely so what?

              Since Apple introduced the contact tracing API into iOS 13, that's kind of a requirement.

            2. This post has been deleted by its author

              1. katrinab Silver badge
                Meh

                Re: Old iPhones.

                iOS 12, which these phones can run, is still getting security updates.

            3. katrinab Silver badge
              Thumb Up

              Re: Old iPhones.

              I have a mid-2010 MacBook Pro. Still works pretty well.

              1. PerlyKing Silver badge
                Linux

                Re: Old MacBooks

                I also have a mid-2010 MBP which is working pretty well, but with the end of macOS support looming up and no up to date Linux support for the graphics card (nVidia?) it has been relegated to emergency spare, and replaced with a newer laptop running Kubuntu 20.04.

          2. FatGerman

            Re: Old iPhones.

            It still works. It still does exactly what I bought it to do. Just because Apple deem it "unsupported" does not make it obsolete nor useless. I have better things to spend my money on than on replacing a perfectly good piece of equipment every couple of years.

            My photography side-business still runs on a 2012 iMac and I have no intention of replacing it. If it still does what I bought it to do, replacing it is wasteful.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Old iPhones.

              If it was a version of windows that someone was running and it no longer received updates I am sure people would be quick to point out how this is unacceptable. This is still the case for a pocket-size computer running a different OS. If you can't keep it up to date with security patches you shouldn't be running it, certainly not in a state where it is perpetually connected to the internet.

              1. Dan 55 Silver badge

                Re: Old iPhones.

                2012 iMacs are supported by Mojave and Catalina therefore still receive security updates.

              2. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: Old iPhones.

                "certainly not in a state where it is perpetually connected to the internet.certainly not in a state where it is perpetually connected to the internet."

                But phones don't need to be "perpetually connected to the internet". They have this wonderful thing called the mobile network with which to make calls, send messages etc. They don't need internet to take photos and videos. My phone never connects to the internet outside my private wi-fi.

              3. EnviableOne Silver badge

                Re: Old iPhones.

                They are also ignoring the fact that the Checkm8 hardware bug exists in everythind with below an A5-A11 chip, which allows free reign on the system without need for it to be unlocked.

          3. katrinab Silver badge
            Meh

            Re: Old iPhones.

            An 8 year old Ivy Bridge? The i7 variant is still faster than some new computers shipping today, and will do pretty much everything you are likely to want from a computer if you are not a hardcore gamer.

            1. JetSetJim Silver badge

              Re: Old iPhones.

              My 10 yr old Sandy Bridge i5 w/ Radeon HD 5770 still works well enough for the games I play - admittedly not Crysis, but does well enough on Total War, Civ6 and Borderlands 2

            2. Boothy Silver badge

              Re: Old iPhones.

              My old gaming rig is a Ivy Bridge i7 3770K (the fastest LGA1155 socketed chip you could get at the time if I remember correctly). It had an 4 core 4 thread i5 when I first built it, but got the 'top-end' i7 as prices dropped when Haswell was launched, figuring it was cheaper than a switch to Haswell (so 2013 I think), and would likely last me a few years with just a CPU upgrade. Which it did.

              I happily used that as my main gaming rig till last year. I only replaced the i7 system at the back end of last summer, as Ryzen Zen 2 stock levels started to stabilise.

              More and more titles wouldn't run on the i7 rig in Ultra/High (at acceptable framerates). With medium settings (or High with some tweaking), becoming the normal setting for me to maintain at least over 40pfs (I'm not one of these that needs to maintain 120fps+, I'm happy with 60, or even down to 40 for single player stuff). But I do play on 1440p or higher.

              I also noticed the CPU was becoming more of a bottleneck (even after an OC), as game engines were updated to (finally!) take advantage of more cores, so the CPU was regularly running at 95%+ utilisation in some titles, with my GFX card sometimes dropping to 90% or less utilisation as the CPU was no longer fast enough to keep up. But this was only for a few titles using more modern engines, with older games and engines still being mostly fine.

              This of course would get worse over time, but that's just core count, rather than any fundamental issue with Ivy Bridge itself. I suspect anyone using an old Ivy Bridge i7 6 core, such as the Extreme edition (needed an LGA2011, hence me sticking with the 4 core ship on my existing LGA1155 board), will probably still have a machine that runs modern titles perfectly fine.

              The days of the Ivy Bridge i7 3770K being a hard core gaming system may now be coming to a close, but it was a good run, and as a general productivity device, it's still quite nippy compared to many new 4 core systems out there.

      3. katrinab Silver badge
        Unhappy

        Re: Old iPhones.

        You need an iPhone 6s/SE1 or newer to run it.

    2. Prst. V.Jeltz Silver badge

      Re: Old iPhones.

      well , i was a bit concerned about the battery drain of running blutooth 24/7 ready for the 1/2 hour a week i may spend outdoors shopping or whtever .

      but i have an iphone5 , which apparently wont run it so fck it.

      Its the dickheads that cant stop socialising with strangers in bars and restaurants and shopping malls that need it

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Old iPhones.

        > well , i was a bit concerned about the battery drain of running blutooth 24/7 ready for the 1/2 hour a week i may spend outdoors shopping or whtever .

        Err, you can turn it off (the tracking not the whole phone) when you get back home.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Old iPhones.

          You can also stop the hysteria about battery life and Bluetooth. It has very little impact.

  3. TheProf Silver badge

    Critical Mass

    I've downloaded the Android version and have received the update, presumably to add the missing test feature.

    As for whether it does the job it was build for is another matter. There's no indication if you've been in bluetooth range of another phone. Probably not an essential feature but I'd like to know if my phone has been handshaking with others.

    As for it draining the battery, I turn the Contract Tracing bit off when I'm at home or otherwise segregated from the great unwashed.

    1. Natalie Gritpants Jr Silver badge

      Re: Critical Mass

      Better to charge your phone when at home so you don't have to remember to turn the app on every time you go out.

      1. Jeffrey Nonken

        Re: Critical Mass

        That does have the drawback of putting more stress on your battery.

        1. Prst. V.Jeltz Silver badge

          Re: Critical Mass

          surly to god in this day and age , especially in a SMART phone , a device can be plugged into a charger and trusted to monitor its charge and only take whats required - like a cat

          Rather than guzzling down everything it can get its paws on until its sick - like a dog

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Critical Mass

      On iOS you can see reports of how many devices you’ve encountered at regular intervals.

      1. Quando

        Re: Critical Mass

        Thanks - didn't know that!

        Settings -> Exposure Notifications -> Exposure Logging Status -> Exposure Checks for anyone else hunting for it.

  4. Stratman

    Police told not to download Covid app

    According to the BBC

    The National Police Chiefs Council (NPCC) has confirmed officers are being told not to install the NHS Covid-19 app on their work smartphones.

    The app detects when users have been in proximity to someone with the virus.

    Some officers have also been told they may not need to obey self-isolate alerts generated by the app when downloaded to their personal phones.

    Lancashire Constabulary has told staff to call the force's own Covid-19 helpline instead.

    Read the linked article before letting slip the dogs of war ;-)

    1. ivan5

      Re: Police told not to download Covid app

      Typical - one law for them and one for the plebs.

      1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: Police told not to download Covid app

        I think they're anticipating a load of false positives what could easily leave the entire force self-isolating.

        1. Fat_Tony
          Mushroom

          Re: Police told not to download Covid app

          An enterprising ne'er do well could report a positive test and contact with lots/all PCs if they fancied a little crime spree with minimal interference :)

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Police told not to download Covid app

        If they have access to enhanced testing or other protocols specific to critical services, it is a perfectly reasonable action to not add noise from the app.

        The app is meant for the public without Ppe, face masks, socially distant contact (well.. in principle) The threshold parameters of the app would be chosen accordingly to balance false positives.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Police told not to download Covid app

          "If they have access to enhanced testing or other protocols "

          They dont , my missus works there ...

          they were drawing lots to see who got the available test in her team not long ago

      3. Stuart Castle Silver badge

        Re: Police told not to download Covid app

        No, they are allowed to download it for their personal phones. It's just their work phones. It may be to stop them being flooded with positives, or it may be good sys admin practice. Never trust any new software without putting it through a decent testing procedure.

    2. Paceman
      WTF?

      Re: Police told not to download Covid app

      I should be staggered that they can install any app to their WORK smartphones, but I'm not.

      1. Danny 2 Silver badge

        Re: Police told not to download Covid app

        It's not their work smartphones, it's their personal smartphones that they carry.

        Genuine question, do British cops even get issued work smartphones? I know most of them don't even get £15 dashcams for their cars.

        Either way I'm with Doctor Syntax on this, it'll be to prevent cops taking two weeks off. He's a doctor, he knows this stuff.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Police told not to download Covid app

          The Met offers a fairly basic but heavily locked down Android handset with BlackBerry mail, calendar and intra/internet access but I don't know if officers get issued them unless there's a specific need

          The play store is accessible but only has a tiny selection of approved apps available.

    3. aje21

      Re: Police told not to download Covid app

      NHS staff are not meant to install it either because they wear PPE at work and so could be falsely flagged as being in close contact when not appropraite.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Police told not to download Covid app

        There are a hell of a lot of NHS staff not wearing PPE at work as well. We don’t have over 1,000,000 doctors and nurses all on front line settings. Many have rightly been directed that installing is a good idea, and for work devices the app added to MDM.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Police told not to download Covid app

      Work at a hospital - been told not to have it running at work, just in case with have a COVID +ve patient in!

      (I work out in the sticks, so low population area - not had any COVID patients for a few weeks)!

    5. Caver_Dave
      Holmes

      Re: Police told not to download Covid app

      All 3 of the Police families within 50M of me have had Covid, but no one else in the village.

      All of my "friends in the force" from other counties have had Covid.

      Is there any point the Police Officers having the app?

      1. Prst. V.Jeltz Silver badge

        Re: Police told not to download Covid app

        I've not see any scientific answers to the questions:

        Can you get it twice?

        Can you carry it after having it?

        1. Danny 2 Silver badge

          Re: Police told not to download Covid app

          Bear in mind I didn't even get a biology O Grade, I'm just guessing from what I've been reading from far smarter people.

          Yes, you can get it twice, and probably more.

          No, you'll stop shedding the virus shortly after your immune system beats it.

          Don't bet your life on my guesses, but that is what I understand from the published science. Nobody else had replied and I defer to anyone else who does.

  5. aje21
    FAIL

    What about checking out?

    I don't have the app myself (being one of the handful of Windows Phone 8.1 users) but when I saw someone using it at our church yesterday I asked them about the features. They could not work out how to check out at the end of the service, so I wonder if this is just a lack of user training or if there really is no way to say "I am NOT here now". Last thing you want is to be told to isolate because someone who tests positive turned up after you had gone!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: What about checking out?

      You can’t check out.. I’ve created a qr code for my home to mitigate the false data.

      I think this is a flaw, but if positive results are always qualified with proximity it should matter less..

      But then the venue data would be pointless?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: What about checking out?

        The venue data is used to send you an alert to watch out for symptoms if you were in a venue in which positive cases were reported, but not near any of those cases. Many people are probably sensible enough to be constantly watching out for symptoms, and those that are not probably don't take it seriously to enough to install the app. These notifications do not tell you to do anything, they are just informational.

        The feature has a purpose, but whether its a useful purpose or not depends on whether it changes people's behavior in a more positive way.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: What about checking out?

        I’ve created a qr code for my home to mitigate the false data

        Ditto. It looks like a useful thing to do. Easier, actually, than having a 'check out' code at the venue as I know where the check-out code is (in my car), and no confusion with the check-in.

        1. Marjolica

          Re: What about checking out?

          "I've created a qr code for my home to mitigate the false data"

          Does that actually work and log you out of the previous QR-ed location?

          I was expecting to be able to see the lost of places an times that I had logged but it seems to be hidden.

          My suggestion is that checkout could be done transparently, if approximately, using GPS: read the QR code, let the app record your location; Move 50-100m away and you get logged out; the GPS data doesn't need to leave your phone.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: What about checking out?

            It would require background location permissions for that, at which point who the hell would trust it to behave itself and not send everything back to Palantir and Co.

          2. M_W

            Re: What about checking out?

            When you check into a venue, it either checks you out when you check in somewhere else or assumes you've checked out at Midnight that night. As it happens, I was in London all weekend this weekend and every venue I visited had the QR codes and were prompting people to check in. However, somewhere like Kingly Court and in Soho, you'd have never have known there was a pandemic going on as it was packed.

            Oh - and the checked-in log is there - you just have to hunt for it. As with all this app, it's not very intuitive.

            Open the app, go into 'About this app' and find 'About your data' section and click 'manage my data' link - you can then see your venue history - delete individual checkins if they're accidental or erase all your checkins by doing 'delete all my data' at the bottom.

            Biggest missing thing is if you get an alert telling you that you were near a person with Covid, when you follow the notification the app opens, it disappears, and you can't see any previous notifications or understand what it meant (mine was a false positive as the two other people I was with all weekend didn't get any matches or notifications).

      3. Jellied Eel Silver badge

        Re: What about checking out?

        You can’t check out.. I’ve created a qr code for my home to mitigate the false data.

        Hmm.. create a QR code for Hotel California. Or create false data by spoofing someone's home address and slapping the QR code somewhere where many people may be trying to check in. Which I guess would be a way to test if any of the data is getting shared. Mr Eel, you appear to have averaged 1,200 visitors to your home a day, care to explain? Well officer, I guess it explains why there's no milk in the fridge...

      4. This post has been deleted by its author

    2. Prst. V.Jeltz Silver badge

      Re: What about checking out?

      " They could not work out how to check out at the end of the service"

      Surely it doesent erquire that much user interaction or the app will never work.

      Doesent the GPS do that?

    3. Ken Hagan Gold badge

      It's not a bug, it's a feature!

      Maybe pay a visit to Terry's Welsh Bar?

  6. Bibbit

    Picky but...

    This is not the NHS’ app. It is from the private sector; Serco last time I looked. Can you not abet the government’s insurance policy of blaming the NHS when any of these shady schemes (primarily designed to fill Cummings & pals coffers) goes TITSUP.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Picky but...

      ToiletteDeloitte are involved too, I think, although that may only be on the actual physical testing side.

      The whole 'NHS Test/Track and Trace' thing is a handy bit of branding to make sure that there's something that can be thrown under a bus[*] when it goes even more TITSUP than it currently is, but thrown under a bus in such a way that Tory donors and their ilk don't get kicked in the bank balance.

      [*] Probably a red one promising £350m a week for the NHS - where is that, by the way? Enquiring minds etc.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: where is that, by the way?

        Try "The Pie in the Sky" but not after 10:00pm.

        I think Dear Nigel has a lot to answer for but where is he these days?

        Perhaps the App can find him? (Always assuming that he's not done a bunk now that his job is done)

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: where is that, by the way?

          He's moved to Germany.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: where is that, by the way?

            >He's moved to Germany

            Last week he was complaining about the new (lorry only) border between Kent and the rest of the UK and the prospect of 80 mile tailbacks making it difficult for him to carry out his new hobby of dingy nonce.

            1. Eclectic Man Silver badge

              Re: where is that, by the way?

              Ah yes, dear ol' Nigel, how is he, by the way? I've not heard of him since he was told by the Police that being a politician / MEP (ex) does not mean he is an essential worker able to travel the country at will to make speeches by the beaches.

      2. thondwe

        Re: Picky but...

        Test and Trace is Serco and Deloite there was some info elsewhere about the devs involved in the App - NHSX, VMware, Zuhlke and some others IIRC

    2. Peter Galbavy

      Re: Picky but...

      My understanding, and information is a little vague, is that Serco are involved the the NHS Trace and Trace *system* (the one with the virtual call centres that have people doing nothing) but that the app is NHSX and is wholly an internal project and doesn't involved either Serco or Deloitte or Crapita..

      Would welcome reliable references either way.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Did people miss the bit in the news today that if you don't self isolate when the app tells you to you get a £1000 fine rising to £10,000? That kind of makes sense but the next part where police have power to stop and check people in high risk areas is a bit of a worry. How long before this app becomes mandatory? What if I work in a shop? I'm going to be self isolating every week.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Did people miss the bit in the news today that if you don't self isolate when the app tells you to you get a £1000 fine rising to £10,000?

      Source?

      Make of it what you will, but Coco the clownHancock stated that notifications from the app were advisory (which kind-of makes sense from a false positive point of view) whereas if you get an actual call from Serco Track and Trace then you _have_ to self-isolate.

      What if I work in a shop?

      If it's anything like the place where my partner works, you won't have your phone on you during working hours anyway.

      Mandatory app? Yeah, good luck with that one.

      1. logicalextreme Silver badge

        Agreed. They can't even make people wear masks in shops, let alone demand people install an app on a device they may not own. I walked around most of a Co-Op the other day before realising my mask was round my neck and nobody said anything.

      2. Commswonk

        Mandatory app? Yeah, good luck with that one.

        Very good luck in my case; I am the proud owner of a not-smart phone. :)

        Ditto Mrs Commswonk.

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Source as requested.

        https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-54320482

        and I quote:

        "From Monday, it will be a punishable offence not to comply with an official instruction to self-isolate, with fines starting at £1,000 and rising to £10,000 for repeat offenders or serious breaches."

        also,

        "Police officers can check that people are complying with the rules in virus hotspots and among high-risk groups based on "local intelligence", the government said."

        and finally,

        "The law applies to people who have tested positive for coronavirus, or who have been told by NHS Test and Trace to self-isolate because they have been in close contact with someone with the virus."

        I agree it shouldn't never be mandatory but you know this government and I wouldn't put it past them.

        As for working in a shop everyone I know keeps their phone on them or in the back which in some cases is within range of Bluetooth of customers depending on the size of the shop, think Tesco express.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Source as requested.

          From the same article:

          If the app tells you to self-isolate, you're supposed to, but it is not a legal requirement in the same way as when you test positive for the virus or are contacted directly by NHS test and trace.

          In other words, if the app tells you to self-isolate then you should but there's no legal requirement for you to do so (sadly, we can't legislate against stupid). However, if you are contacted by one of the Serco script-monkeys then you're required to self-isolate on pain of impecunity.

          As ever with this bunch of cockwaffles, the devil is in the detail.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Source as requested.

            Silly me, I was confusing the NHS Test and Trace with NHS Test and Trace App. It was early when I first read it to be fair. Though it's a bit weird they are specifically excluding the app in the legislation. It's like they know it's a load of crap.

            1. EnviableOne Silver badge

              Re: Source as requested.

              Problem solved

              the app is the NHS Covid-19 app

              the Deloitte -> Serco system is "NHS" Test and Trace

          2. Danny 2 Silver badge

            Re: Source as requested.

            > (sadly, we can't legislate against stupid)

            Well, we could, and perhaps even should, but first we'd have to elect a s̶m̶a̶r̶t̶e̶r̶ less stupid legislature.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    no major bugs?

    "However, it is unable to recognise negative test results performed outside of the app."

    I would have called that a major bug. You're told to self-isolate because you've been too near somebody who is positive, but then you get a negative result from the ONS random scan, or from a hospital, and you still can't stop self-isolating. I'd call that a major bug.

    1. JetSetJim Silver badge

      Re: no major bugs?

      At least:

      a) it could be a fasle negative (have at least anecdotal 1st hand evidence of friends who quite clearly had it but actually tested negative)

      b) you could still be growing sufficient quantities of the virus inside you to both be asymptomatic and not register a positive *yet*

    2. Alex Brett

      Re: no major bugs?

      A negative test does *not* remove the legal requirement to self-isolate if instructed to do so due to close contact, because in the early stages of an infection you may test negative - that's why e.g. a test on arrival at the airport isn't sufficient to avoid the 14-day quarantine period...

      As I understand it, if you report symptoms, that will start the 10 day self isolation countdown - if you book a test through the app, and subsequently get a negative result, that will automatically remove the 10 day isolation countdown, though if you get a negative result through another test mechanism, you would have to reinstall the app to clear your data from it, which is awkward but not a disaster.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Still confused as to how this app makes the slighest bit of difference..

    ... to the final epidemic infection rate or excess mortality.

    So we have a viral airborne infectious respiratory disease that has an IFR and CFR that's pretty much the same as the other four general circulation human-corona viruses. 229E, OC43, HKU1, NL63. Has the same kind of RO and like the four other general circulation human corona-viruses, has no effective therapeutic treatments, and will have no effective vaccines, and has been in community spread for many months.

    And just like the four other general circulation human corona viruses the high risk group is those with a high CURB-65 score, at a high risk of viral pneumonia. Everyone else basically zero risk of fatality. Just like with the 15%/20% of common colds caused by the four general circulation human corona viruses. Can kill people older people with high CURB-65 scores, and does. When the 229E or OC43 infection turns into pneumonia . Thousands die every year but because its considered so prevalent the authorities rarely bother to keep proper statistics. And for every one else, just a potentially very miserable upper respiratory infection. Might even get you in hospital, if unlucky. Or in bad health.

    So we have massive curtailment of human rights, very intrusive tracking, and the threat of house arrest for weeks And all for exactly what? To defer the final equilibrium infection rate of 35%/40% in the general population by a month or two. Max.

    I think that is a very good definition of mass hysteria.

    1. FatGerman

      Re: Still confused as to how this app makes the slighest bit of difference..

      Of course if you install it it'll flat your battery before you can finish downloading your conspiracy theory videos.

      "Everyone else basically zero risk of fatality." is perhaps the most provably bollocks statement anybody has made since this started.

      You can go out with no mask if you like chief, I'll make sure to cough on you if I see you.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Still confused as to how this app makes the slighest bit of difference..

        Muppet

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Still confused as to how this app makes the slighest bit of difference..

        > Of course if you install it it'll flat your battery before you can finish downloading your conspiracy theory videos.

        So you consider the published literature in peer review journals on human corona-viruses over the last 50 odd years, on SARs CoV 1 over the last almost twenty, and the last nine months of SARs CoV 2 papers (mostly preprint so far) as conspiracy literature.

        Interesting

        Because thats what I have been reading since early January on this particular subject.

        So tell us, what is your infallible source of scientific information if its not the actual published literature? Every single thing I wrote is in the published literature. Go look it up.

        OK, as you seem to have all the answers can you solve this particular scientific puzzle. Why was the IFR of the SARs CoV 1 outbreak in 2003 stated in the literature as being almost the same as the CFR even though the few serological surveys for IgG antibodies done at the time seem to indicate an asymptomatic infection rate closer to that of SARs CoV 2? Could it be that no follow up serological surveys were actually done to calculate a reasonably accurate IFR.

        See, some of us actually have read the literature and done the math. And just like with the Imperial College models neither the mathematics nor the actual science of contact tracing add up. This is epidemiology 101 stuff.

        You should read an Introduction to Epidemiology book sometime. You might learn something. My favorite at the moment is Mathematical Models in Epidemiology by Brauer, Castillo, and Feng. But I suspect that would be way above your head.

        1. Danny 2 Silver badge

          Re: Still confused as to how this app makes the slighest bit of difference..

          Hiya AC,

          Up front I admit a lot of the science was new to me in February, but I did my best to read up.

          I've been on lockdown with my octogenarian parents since - what year is it now?

          I totally get the restrictions are a complete pain in the arse for people who are at lesser risk, like you, but they are pretty vital for the last two people I love so I'd ask you to comply a wee bit longer.

          We have a wonderful US professor in Edinburgh, Devi Sridhar, whose advice and intellect has been a shield this year. She is regularly interviewed by numerous media, don't hold it against her that this one is on The Guardian.

          For those who are younger, it is tempting to just want to have Covid-19 and get it over with. But Sars-Cov-2 is a nasty virus that you do not want to get. There have been a number of cases of reinfection with the second infection sometimes being asymptomatic or mild, or, in at least one case, being much more serious and requiring hospitalisation. Just because you have it once does not guarantee you immunity for life.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: prof Devi Sridhar

            She makes a lot of sense but better on the radio and in print than on the TV - she's perfectly eloquently just a bit distractingly attractive.

            1. Danny 2 Silver badge

              Re: prof Devi Sridhar

              "just a bit distractingly attractive"

              You are a male geek - every woman is distractingly attractive! Go to a porn site, do your thang, then come back and read her words.

              I'm not sure if the pandemic is worse for terrified pensioners or horny teenagers.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Alien

          Re: Still confused as to how this app makes the slighest bit of difference..

          Ah yes, those Imperial College models. The ones created by actual epidemiologists and mathematicians. They're wrong because some anonymous crank says they are. Of course, how silly of me.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Still confused as to how this app makes the slighest bit of difference..

            > Ah yes, those Imperial College models. The ones created by actual epidemiologists and mathematicians. They're wrong because some anonymous crank says they are. Of course, how silly of me

            Actually the Imperial models were complete wrong ( read the post postmortems) because they used R0 values that had no basic even in the very early preliminary clinical data. They used what is know in the trade as made up numbers. As were the IFR's in their models.

            The first reliable data that gave a good indication of the IFR of SARs CoV 2 was published in the International Journal of Infectious Disease by South Korea researcher on MARCH 12'TH. A bunch more papers published in the following few weeks filled out the data from South Korea and gave a very good indication of the asymptomatic infection rate so thats why the IFR has now stabilized around 0.2%/0.3%. Same as other HCOV's.

            Its funny how the people who have actually read the relevant scientific literature are the "cranks" and those who seem to have zero familiarity with the literature are the ones who know the "truth". If you actually read the literature you will soon discover that not one single public health measure enforced since March in countries like the UK can be supported by the published literature. Or almost 150 years of epidemiology.

            Its all political theater. Nothing else. Driven by media lead mass hysteria. Those countries that followed the actual science just concentrated on those high risk people ( old people with high CURB-65 scores) and took some proportionate and reasonable public health measures. They have had low novel virus severe pneumonia deaths so far.

            You do know that Ferguson at Imperial has form for getting it completely wrong. Back when the Mad Cow disease hysteria was starting he came out with a model that said up to 136,000 people were going to die. Had to be true. He had big fancy academic titles and used lots of fancy equations. Final toll for Mad Cow Disease, a few dozen who did not have a rare genetic condition. A hundred or two who did. And they still cant explain how "prions" (proteins) were supposed to cause the disease nCJD in the first place

            Just because some people use fancy math means zero. If the math is wrong. Every time. Just ask the guys who priced all those fancy derivatives at Lehman Brothers in 2007 how their pricing models based on even even fancier math than Imperial (and with the mathematicians money could buy) worked out.

            Heard of GIGO?

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Boffin

              Re: Still confused as to how this app makes the slighest bit of difference..

              If you believed the R0s and other data that fed those early models you're a fool, and you were a fool if you believed them in March. What those models actually told us, quite correctly, was that for a very large range of plausible R0s and hospitalisation rates the health service would fail unless we did something. That's essentially it. By telling us this they destroyed the arguments of the herd-immunity fuckwits, of whom Cummings may have been one and you may well be another. We didn't do the right thing, but we got close enough to it to dodge that bullet, which would have been a catastrophe.

              And you know what: I'm still going to listen to people who publish papers with their names on them and in things like peer review, because that's how you get good information. How you get very bad information is paying attention to someone posting anonymous self-important comments (why: are you frightened that the cabal will find you?) to an article in The Register. Paying attention to that kind of shit is how you get tinfoil and Qanon. Bye then.

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: Still confused as to how this app makes the slighest bit of difference..

                > And you know what: I'm still going to listen to people who publish papers with their names on them and in things like peer review, because that's how you get good information

                So you missed the bit were I wrote exactly that. That's exactly what I have been reading, the literature, since the leading epidemiologists / infectious disease specialists at HKU Med School had their very public press conference in the middle of January when they went public with the very disturbing numbers their faculty members had just seen in Wuhan. Totally different from the official Chinese Government public statements at the time. Which is when I started really paying attention.

                As for the defense of the Imperial models in March. Given that that so much destruction has been done to lives and livelihoods based on complete fraudulent models, which is exactly what they were, I think its time that the people responsible should pay a price for their maleficence. Ferguson and his group did a huge amount of damage to the county. There should be a price to pay for professional misconduct of this level.

                Researchers in other countries produced models, far more scientifically responsible models, than what the Imperial group produced. Starting with the very first epidemiological models of SARs CoV 2 from the HKU Med school presented at that press conference. In January. The HKU model used a R0 of 2.0/2.5. Based on initial direct clinical observations. The models from the South Korean and Taiwanese CDC's, to mention just two, produced in the next few weeks (early February) used the same kind of model variable numbers. Realistic clinical numbers for airborne infectious diseases. Then later the first models out of Norway, Switzerland and Germany CDC equivalents, who were most transparent in published their models and assumptions, followed the lead of the HKU, SK, TWN etc with realistic model numbers which were adjusted down on each model iteration as more clinical data became available.

                The Imperial numbers on the other hand were not just outliers but complete aberrations. When compared with other model produced in January and February. Thats why I use the term professional malfeasance. Because that s exactly what it was.

                As for the whole "flatten the curve" crap. Only two countries in Europe suffered a complete collapse of their medical systems in March, the only two with totally socialized medical system. Spain and Italy. Because totally socialized medical system have no surge capacity. A very large published body of literature on this particular subject over the last few decades. A known system flaw. As the UK actually has a largish private medical system it had surge capacity. Lots of it. Like France, Germany, the Nordics etc. The Nightingale hospitals were almost completely unused because the private hospitals in the UK gave it more than enough surge capacity.

                So what was you point again?

            2. _LC_ Silver badge

              Re: Still confused as to how this app makes the slighest bit of difference..

              That's what the Internet is for. A single idiotic goon appears as a thousand, paid by your taxes.

        3. John H Woods Silver badge

          Re: Still confused as to how this app makes the slighest bit of difference..

          Well, it's not above my head but I'm not sure it's not above yours. If you really have learned some lessons from the reading material you mention, and you have a reasonable justification for your position, I'm not sure you've presented it yet.

    2. genghis_uk Silver badge

      Re: Still confused as to how this app makes the slighest bit of difference..

      Exactly what I have been saying - This virus does what Flu does. It predominantly affects the elderly and knocks the system for 6, exacerbating existing conditions. The big spike of deaths in March-May were heavily weighted towards the 70+ age bracket but the media scared the daylights out of everyone until teenagers thought that if they went outside they would die!

      Lockdown to 'protect the NHS' was really a lockdown so the government could get their act together and get proper PPE for the NHS. We never did overwhelm the service (beds, respirators etc) - although we did overwhelm the staff. We are currently facing lockdowns while at approximately 5% of the infection rate and 1% of the mortality rate.

      We know who the vulnerable people are so why are we not focussing protection on them and getting on with our lives? The under 12's stand more chance of dying from a lightning strike and the under 40's are more likely to die on the road. There is an increased risk of something a bit nasty in the 50-60 group but still within normal levels of everyday risk. Hell, I ride motorbikes, my chances of dying from Covid are vanishingly small in comparison!

      Focus testing on the elderly, carers and people with existing conditions and let the rest of us live with the latest flu-bug as we do every year for feks sake

      </rant> sorry :)

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Still confused as to how this app makes the slighest bit of difference..

        How dare you bring logic and reasoning into the argument - stay where you are, citizen, the Thought Police are en-route

        Joking aside, I broadly agree - I'm staring down the barrel at 50 and am considered an 'at risk' group (diabetic). However, I strongly believe that I had this particular nasty sometime in December and it absolutely floored me for the best part of a fortnight - seasonal flu this certainly wasn't, and far more unpleasant than H1N1 which I copped in 2009. My partner (nearly 30) got away with the persistent cough very little else - self-isolation was easy for me, since I barely had the energy to manage the 10 feet or so from my bed to the bog, much less go out on a raging bender.

        Can we get antibody tests? Can we buggery bollocks - given that OH works in a shop, I'd be amazed if she hasn't been exposed to it, but to the best of my knowledge I've managed to avoid re-infection. I also work on the principle that I'm more likely to get hit by a bus when I'm out cycling than I am to die of COVID-19.

        As far as the app and whatnot or concerned, if a business wants to put obstacles in my way (scanning QR codes, excessive queuing, pointless one-way systems) then I'll take my business elsewhere. The gubbishment claim that they're wanting to control the virus when, in actuality, it's the other way around.

        1. John H Woods Silver badge

          Re: Still confused as to how this app makes the slighest bit of difference..

          You almost certainly didn't have it in December. A lot of us had something bloody terrible around then but the chances that you had Sars_Cov2 without seeding a local cluster are quite small. My cousin and partner came back from Wuhan in Jan with something really horrible and very Covid like. They were sure they'd had covid but I made the same argument --- since then they have both had antibody tests (both work in health services) and both were -ve. .

          This is really a field where expert opinion beats common-sense and "ill-informed reckons" hands down.

          1. _LC_ Silver badge

            Re: Still confused as to how this app makes the slighest bit of difference..

            Wrong. It was here (Germany) in mid December as well.

          2. EnviableOne Silver badge

            Re: Still confused as to how this app makes the slighest bit of difference..

            the anti-body tests are useless. the one they were giving NHS staff only detected previous infection if you'd had serious symptoms.

            With SARS-CoV-2 you are only going to generate Specific anti-bodies in the most severe of cases, most of the effects are not a result of the virus itself, but the modifications it makes to how your body responds.

            SARS-CoV-2 lowers production of Type I and III interferons with sufficient ISG expression, along with elevated chemokine secretion, leading to inflamatory cytokine storms, in the worst cases.

      2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: Still confused as to how this app makes the slighest bit of difference..

        "We never did overwhelm the service (beds, respirators etc)"

        It's a bit like saying the Y2K bug didn't exist because nothing bad happened. The NHS wasn't, on the whole, overwhelmed because a huge amount of effort was expended on creating new facilities.

        However some people may have died before there was an adequate provision of ventilators and there were certainly occasions on which hospitals had to stop admitting patients because they'd reached the limits of their plumbing's ability to distribute oxygen

        1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

          Re: Still confused as to how this app makes the slighest bit of difference..

          Oops.

          I should have pointed out all the procedures that got shelved by directing resources to dealing with Covid and the consequent excess deaths. If that's not being overwhelmed I don't know what is.

        2. TimMaher Silver badge
          Facepalm

          Re: Still confused as to how this app makes the slighest bit of difference..

          Absolutely @doc.

          And they discharged a pile of elderly folk into care homes without bothering to test them. Thereby shifting the casualty count from one system to another.

          Somebody has worked hard to produce a ‘flu jab, each and every year, for yonks now. Doesn’t work perfectly but it does work. There may have been a reason for that?

          You don’t just give up on combatting a lethal disease because it might be a bit difficult.

        3. genghis_uk Silver badge

          Re: Still confused as to how this app makes the slighest bit of difference..

          This was not a Y2K comment, I agree that the initial lockdown did its job and prevented the NHS being overwhelmed - actually, the additional new facilities (Nightingale Hospitals) were never used. Which is just as well because there was no staff for them. The NHS has 100,000 staff openings at the moment.

          This was not the point. What I was trying to say is that, at the worst of the first wave, when there were over 1000 deaths a day and an estimated 100k infections we went into lockdown to cope. No problem with that, we had to get some control and the Government had to get their act together. Now we have between 4k and 5k daily infections and 13 deaths yesterday but we are being told that we have to go back to an Orwellian state because it is getting out of control. Infections are not translating into hospitalisation indicating that the rate is due to increased testing and largely younger people getting it - obvious when schools have returned but manageable if we make sure the elderly are protected (89% of deaths have been in the over 65 group).

          Target protection where it is needed but overbearing restrictions will inevitably cause a backlash that will do no-one any favours. I can see a crunch point on the run up to Christmas - civil disobedience will be overwhelming the police.. will we have a "Protect the Police" campaign?

          As an aside, how many know that the influenza-like illness rate hit 130 per 100k in December 2010? 100 per 100k is the current lockdown threshold that is shutting cities in the North...

          I am not a Covid denier (as anyone who disagrees with the media seem to be branded), but I do follow the stats which does not seem to warrant the response we are seeing.

          https://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/healthandsocialcare/conditionsanddiseases/articles/coronaviruscovid19roundupdeathsandhealth/2020-06-26

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Terminator

            Re: Still confused as to how this app makes the slighest bit of difference..

            So your argument is really: because the lockdown in March was too late, we must therefore make sure lockdowns are always too late. With a nice secondary argument of 'because we don't react when disease x gets to a certain rate, we must also not react when disease y reaches a similar rate'.

            These seem like good arguments to me.

          2. Eclectic Man Silver badge

            Re: Still confused as to how this app makes the slighest bit of difference..

            We also need to consider 'long Covid', the long term effects of Covid-19 infections. Adam Rutherford did an item on BC Radio 4 this morning:

            https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m000mzms

            Lots of people who had milder symptoms now experience breathlessness and other long term issues. This will be a major problem in countries with higher infection rates, like Brazil, India and particularly the USA in the future. At the moment the UK is counting deaths within 28 days of diagnosis and positive test for Covid-19, we need to plan for the much larger number of survivors who will have long term, maybe permanent, problems of various degrees of severity.

            1. Eclectic Man Silver badge

              Re: Still confused as to how this app makes the slighest bit of difference..

              Confused about a thumb down but no explanation of what was disliked. Adam Rutherford did do a half hour radio program, and lots of people are experiencing long term health issues after recovering from Covid-19 infection. I accept that others on this forum have also mentioned long Covid, was that it?

          3. David Hicklin

            Re: Still confused as to how this app makes the slighest bit of difference..

            "estimated 100k infections we went into lockdown"

            I see this number bounded around everywhere but in reality I suspect that it was just a wild guess as there was so little data - problem is everyone has taken it has gospel since.

            The reason for my doubt is that when mass testing became available (see the BBC graphs for the line) the infection rate continued to fall - with more tests I would have expected to see a new spike.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Alien

      Re: Still confused as to how this app makes the slighest bit of difference..

      I like the clever trick of lacing your nonsense with plausible terminology: you must have spent quite a long time learning it all. Well done.

      The implication-but-not-quite-saying that it's no more deadly than 229E / OC43 (which ordinary people will know as two of the viruses which cause the common cold) is clever, too.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Still confused as to how this app makes the slighest bit of difference..

        > I like the clever trick of lacing your nonsense with plausible terminology: you must have spent quite a long time learning it all. Well done.

        > The implication-but-not-quite-saying that it's no more deadly than 229E / OC43 (which ordinary people will know as two of the viruses which cause the common cold) is clever, too.

        Some of us have been reading the medical literature for decades due to self management of an untreatable medical condition. Plus decades of plowing through the same kind of literature in my own fields. The math in these medical / bio-science papers is actually a lot simpler than the stuff I do in my day job.

        I was actually surprised when I started reading through the human corona-virus (HCOV) literature on several fronts. Firstly how little substantive research literature there was. Turns out HCOV's are like rhinovirus., they are so ubiquitous and there are so few avenues for either effective treatments or vaccines that there has not much effort in sustained or wide ranging clinical or epidemiological studies. over the last five or six decades. Unlike even influenza A and B where you can find a fairly wide and deep range of published literature.

        What the comparatively few studies of HCOV's show is that, yes, 15%/20% of common colds seem to be actually a HCOV infection. But for almost all people relatively benign. This is the most common form of HCOV infection. At least 1% of any given adult population when tested prove positive for an active HCOV infection. Usually asymptomatic. With teenagers the rate is higher and with children under 10, during the school year, the HCOV positive rate seem to be in the 20% or even 30% positive range.

        When tested around 10% of people admitted to hospital with a respiratory infection proved positive for HCOV infection. The raw CFR's for hospitalized HCOV infections is in the range of 15% to 20% but the actual CFR for HCOV infection as primary cause of death would be much lower. A CFR number 2% to 4% seems about ballpark.

        The people who are hospitalized for respiratory infections who test positive for HCOV's overwhelming have very high CURB-65 scores. Which calculates the risk people have of getting a sever viral pneumonia infection. Those who have a high CURB score are those who proved to have a very high risk of being hospitalized by a SARs CoV 2 infection.

        Thats the actual published science as I have found it so far. After a fairly comprehensive review of the literature. But still digging.,

    4. David Roberts

      Re: Still confused as to how this app makes the slighest bit of difference..

      Two words. Long Covid.

      For those still pushing "Just like flu. Only dangerous to the old, just get it and move on." There are allegedly over 600,000 people so far with long term debilitating effects after a Covid infection. As far as I know the average flu doesn't attack the tissues in the brain, lungs, kidneys, pancreas and other major organs. Including the eyes. Eating holes in the tissues.

      It isn't a binary choice between dead and absolutely fine.

      The statistics should show dead or long term damage vs. fully recovered. That would help a more realistic understanding of the risks.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Still confused as to how this app makes the slighest bit of difference..

        > For those still pushing "Just like flu. Only dangerous to the old, just get it and move on." There are allegedly over 600,000 people so far with long term debilitating effects after a Covid infection. As far as I know the average flu doesn't attack the tissues in the brain, lungs, kidneys, pancreas and other major organs. Including the eyes. Eating holes in the tissues

        Again this is one of the situations where if you start researching the published literature up pops exactly the same syndromes, after-effects etc with other respiratory, viral or human-corona infections. There has not been one single novel long term effect for SARs CoV 2 infections that had not already been published. Usually multiple times. With the same kind of infection frequency. For other infectious agents.

        Then there is the other problem with a lot of these reported SARs CoV 2 long term effects. There is the sensational media report, you go look at the actual published source for the report, and it turns out that in almost all cases its little more than a clinical anecdote. Low frequency. Usually comorbities involved. Which usually have the exactly the same kind of low frequency long term symptoms / effects.

        Ultimately, the question is, is it worth doing huge economic damage to the country, huge long term unemployment etc, causing a very big spike in excess deaths from all other medical conditions due to severe dislocation of the country and medical system, and all because of panic public health measures to an novel infectious disease that will in teh long term prove little different (clinically or epidemiologically ) from ones society has lived with for many many generations.

        To my mind this is the best example of thereductio ad absurdum of the Precautionary Principal. Were the supposed precautions against a supposed risk cased far more excess deaths and economic damage than the purported original source of risk could ever cause. By I suspect at least an order of magnitude by the time this is all over.

  10. MobileDave
    Alert

    Suggested improvement

    My wife and I went out on Saturday to a cafe where the QR code was displayed. She's already downloaded the app so scanned it in. Of course we completely forgot to scan on exit. So it now shows that we were there from 9:15-23:59. Which makes the chance of a false positive of someone infecting us (at least electronically) somewhat higher.

    I'd have added a default of one hour to the app and a on the sign. "If you are here longer than an hour, you must scan it on exit."

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Suggested improvement

      Or have it beep after an hour to remind you to rescan if required.

    2. Alex Brett

      Re: Suggested improvement

      So something that has confused a lot of people - checking in somewhere does not mean if a single person tests positive who was there at the same time you'll get notified, it only means if the public health authorities decide there has been a cluster of cases and so it is a hotspot, they can send a notification, that will normally not be a requirement to self-isolate, but a suggestion to be on the lookout for symptoms more than normal - see https://faq.covid19.nhs.uk/article/KA-01312/en-us?parentid=CAT-01031&rootid=CAT-01023 for details...

  11. Danny 2 Silver badge

    Protect the NHS

    We are in the second wave in the UK. The third wave in winter will be deadliest, because flu indoors. I'm genuinely surprised how stupid/selfish some posters here are. Help the aged - once we were just like you!

    Look, I'd be perfectly happy for you to all meet up for a big QAnon orgy, as long as you sign away your rights to NHS treatment after. Maybe go private?

    I'm proud that Scotland has led better than the UK, but I'm shamed that the UK is even worse than Trump's America. That's a sorry state of the union.

    1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: Protect the NHS

      "Help the aged - once we were just like you!"

      And, if you're lucky*, one day you'll be just like us.

      * And sensible, although that may also be down to luck.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Protect the NHS

      I'm proud that Scotland has led better than the UK,

      Really?

      a) Scotland is part of the UK

      b) It's big, and empty. Considering the population density it would be a surprise if most people outside the big cities even met someone with the virus, let alone caught it from them.

      c) Worldwide, the nost serious situations have been the people dying from this in care homes, and there the figures for Scotland are far worse than those for England.

      Sturgeon's spin on COVID is like just her spin on economics, Scotland always does it better than England, and damn the facts. She could give Trump lessons on fake news.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Boffin

        Re: Protect the NHS

        The empty bits don't count: since almost no-one lives in them they make little difference to the figures. The population density of the central belt (which, depending on how you define it) is where the great majority of people live is (again depending on how you define it) balk-park the same as the population density of the UK as a whole.

        I'm not arguing that Scotland is doing better which I don't know: simply that the empty bits make little difference to the figures.

      2. Danny 2 Silver badge

        Re: Protect the NHS

        "Scotland is part of the UK"

        Yeah but health is devolved so we've followed two different strategies (well, four different strategies). Scotland was proactive in leading on stuff like face masks back when Boris was refusing to wear one and boasting about shaking the hands of Covid hospital patients - the week before he caught it.

        Our lockdown measures have been quicker and harsher, and still are. I'm an anarchist, I get the freedom argument, but I'm deliriously happy that all my poxy relatives can't legally visit my parents today.

        The Scottish Government do deserve criticism for this, they've only been a wee bit better than the (let's face it) English Government, but they have always led the English Government by at least a week. And a week counts big time in pandemics.

        Sturgeon, she's always been on message with her daily briefings. Boris barely talks to the public but today had to apologise for "misspeaking" about his half hearted Northern English lockdown. He's a bungler, and a bumbler, and a fumbler.

        Scots are noticing the difference even if you aren't.

        Oh, and I cast doubt on your care home stats since you didn't cite them. I say that from the littlest care home in Scotland.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Protect the NHS

          Oh, and I cast doubt on your care home stats since you didn't cite them. I say that from the littlest care home in Scotland.

          https://www.edinburghnews.scotsman.com/news/opinion/columnists/scotlands-covid-care-home-death-toll-scandal-2927808

          "More people died with coronavirus in Scotland’s care homes than in hospital – with Covid-19 listed on nearly 1900 death certificates. With Scotland having one of the highest death rates in the world, the elderly has borne the brunt.

          Nearly half of all Covid-19 deaths were in care homes, compared to just 28 per cent in England. "

          1. Danny 2 Silver badge

            Re: Protect the NHS

            Maybe aye, maybe no, but any Edinburgh Evening News columnist has no more credibility than the West Lothian Couriers' Sammy the Squirrel wedding and birth announcer. Provide actual stats.

            Do you know how lacking in credibility the Edinburgh Evening News is? I've not been banned there. It's the poor man's The Scotsman, which if you aren't Scottish you may mistake for a national newspaper - it's just not, you can't even source it in Broxburn. It's the Scottish equivalent of the Torygraph. But worse.

            Listen, I'm not having a go at you. I agree the Scottish Government mucked up hospital discharges to care homes, shamefully, due to lack of testing. It's why I'm trying my best to keep my relatives out of care homes.

            I'm not a supporter of the Scottish Government but even my English pals and relatives acknowledge they have have done a better job on the pandemic.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Protect the NHS

              Feel free to google the stats, you'll find the same numbers at the BBC, Guardian, Indy, etc. I provided a Scottish source because I thought it migt be more credible, but it seems that the scottish press can't be trusted on scottish matters.

  12. Mint Sauce
    Devil

    Sympathy for the devil

    As someone being run ragged by having to update systems due to covid, I have some sympathy for the developers of this app. If it's anything like my experience they'll be battling constantly changing and contradictory requirements that are generated daily by random members of a hastily assembled 'task and finish' group (barf). They will probably have spotted problems before they arise, but will either be ignored, or railroaded into releasing it yesterday, if not sooner. Of course any actual problems post-release will result in shocked pikachu faces all round by the T&F gang.. (and late nights for the developers where they get to implement what they said was needed in the first place)

    Thorough testing? ahahahahaAHAHAHAHAHAHA *gasp* Yes, nice idea, you need to actually know what they want it to do, first ;-)

    Having said that, I'll be seeing if I can contribute to the maintainers of utPLSQL after all this, as it has saved my bacon a few times already....

  13. RyszrdG

    Elephants and rooms etc.

    Not everyone carries a phone..

    Not all phones are 'smart'

    Phones must (usually) be switched off on planes and other signal sensitive areas.

    Some environments do not allow phones to be taken on site.

    Some areas do not have reliable mobile phone signals.

    Phones are often turned off and only turned on when needed

    etc etc..

    How long before NOT carrying an approved phone becomes a punishable offence?

    How long before total surveillance becomes the norm?

    Perhaps we will all be compelled to carry an embedded transponder that will determine your civil rights.

    Are we looking into the abyss?

    1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: Elephants and rooms etc.

      What you're missing is that after the initial fiasco a smartphone app suddenly ceased to be absolutely essential and was demoted to being a bit of additional aid to the absolutely essential manual test and trace system.

    2. PerlyKing Silver badge

      Re: Elephants and rooms etc.

      There are all sorts of edge cases, but the overwhelming majority of adults in the UK (79% according to this) own a smartphone, and I'd wager a fair amount that most of them are on and connected most of the time.

      If we had to wait for a perfect solution, nothing would ever get done. This is (hopefully) the best-effort start of an ongoing response to an evolving situation.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Elephants and rooms etc.

      Let me check...

      Phone too old to host the app - check

      Phone must be switched on - no, I actually work rather than spending all day on Faeces book (except the obligatory Register on my work computer)

      Phone not allowed at work - used to work in one of these places

      No phone signal - check (mine is connected via my home network 99% of the time)

      Phone turned off when not needed - check

      Actual need to go outside - I've been out to a restaurant twice since lockdown started - anniversary and birthday -no pubs, but plenty of wide open space - so not much different from usual

      I will happily stay off their RADAR for as long as possible.

      (Family members who work for the NHS have downloaded, but have been told to turn it off before they enter their work premises. They were getting weekly COVID tests as NHS workers, but that has now stopped.)

      Only Anon due to PII

  14. El blissett

    Not much point blurring the address underneath. The QR codes are so huge because, for some reason, the QR code encodes the full plain text details of the address of the venue rather than an ID... meaning poor Adil will need to set up an entirely new one as his checkin data is worthless now.

    1. Jonathan Richards 1 Silver badge

      Location ID

      Maybe because the full plain text details of the address are unique (for postal purposes, that's necessary) whereas there are not readily-available short and unique IDs for business locations. Before commenting, I thought of What 3 Words [1] which is great at what it does, but doesn't fit the key user requirement for all situations, e.g. where there is residential accommodation directly above a bar or restaurant.

      [1] https://what3words.com/

      1. Marjolica

        Re: Location ID

        The QR encoded information is for the organisation and the postal address. It could easily have been organisation + what3words locale.

        In our case (a rowing club hut, located at the back of a pub car park) we've 'borrowed' their postal address. The organisation name is what makes it unique. A What3words address wouldactually locate it more accurately.

  15. JDX Gold badge

    How to use it...

    I still haven't seen a definitive answer to the question if I have to manually run the app and ensure it is running, or if once installed it will do so in the background (on Android). I frequently kill all open apps and since I've bothered downloading the app, I would like to know it's actually running!

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Hmm... not fully convinced. Running Android V6.0, the phone's UI repeatedly crashes after the app has been installed and activated. Even when the UI is not playing up, the phone is unstable having been left all night to recharge. Problem(s) go away after uninstalling.

    More memory has been made available but still problems. Wondering if there is a general problem, memory leaks, who knows?

    Does not fill me with much confidence.

  17. Eclectic Man Silver badge

    The real problem

    is that of self administered tests. I've done two (the first result took so long that I went for a second), and after hearing about the proper way of doing it, I only got the nasal swab part right. You need to get a good contact with the tonsils, and frankly I didn't on either occasion. Now I do have the fitness of a 33 year old (according to my Garmin Forerunner 645 Connect app), so I probably don't have Sars-Cov2 , but I'd expect lots of false negatives due to incorrect swabbing by numpties like me at self-test centres.

    Good luck everyone, I'm afraid we are going to need it.

    1. Danny 2 Silver badge

      Re: The real problem

      Which 33 year old? And do you have any of their blood left?

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    email address stolen by nhs.test.and.trace.covid19.app

    I use one-time mail addresses for correspondence with organizations. So I have a specific email address I use to correspond with my GP practice.

    This morning I got an email message to that address from nhs.test.and.trace.covid19.app@notifications.service.gov.uk

    I spoke to my surgery and they are adamant that they have not released any information, including my email address, to the government. So how did they get it?

    Anybody know more? How do the data protection rules apply in this situation?

    1. Danny 2 Silver badge

      Re: email address stolen by nhs.test.and.trace.covid19.app

      I'm repeating myself, but I put in a Data Protection request for my health records. My health centre mailed all my records to my neighbour.

      I complained to my health centre and they said not to worry because it's illegal to open anyone else's mail. Aye fucking right. I eventually got to read my medical history, a few days after my neighbour did.

      My point being health professionals are not experts in data protection. Those NHS Trusts are way too trusting.

  19. briesmith

    Missing Features?

    How do I register my (2) antibody tests proving I have had Covid?

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