One-third of positive COVID-19 tests not compatible with England's contact tracing app

Nhs Covid
Nhs Covid (Image credit: NHS)

Nhs Covid

Source: NHS (Image credit: Source: NHS)

What you need to know

  • England recently released a COVID-19 contact tracing app.
  • Turns out it can't accept positive test submissions for around 1/3 of tests.
  • The app's Twitter account recently confirmed it couldn't link to test results taken in Public Health England labs or at the NHS.

England's contact tracing app does not work with around 1/3 of tests carried out in England, the app's Twitter account has confirmed.

Responding to a user who got a test result but no code to input into the app, the NHS COVID-19 app Twitter account stated:

Hi Damian,If your test took place in a Public Health England lab or NHS hospital, or as part of national surveillance testing conducted by the Office for National Statistics, test results cannot currently be linked with the app whether they're positive or negative.Thanks.

FAQ: What is the Google-Apple COVID-19 (coronavirus) Exposure Notifications system?

Noted by Reuters, PHE and NHS tests in England account for 29% of tests done on Friday, which means that the app is not compatible with one-third of UK testing.

Not only that, the BBC's Zoe Kleinman reports that users are also unable to input negative test results if they booked their test outside of the app. This means users are not able to disable the app's self-isolation alert after reporting symptoms, even if they have tested negative for the virus.

The debacle is just the latest shortcoming in a long line of failings regarding England's mobile contact tracing solution.

In a recent update, Kleinman confirmed that the Department of Health says that manual contact tracers will be able to provide codes when they call for those who are unable to input a positive test. However, this means users will need to speak to a manual contact tracer on the phone in order to get a code, a step the app was obviously designed to eliminate.

Stephen Warwick
News Editor

Stephen Warwick has written about Apple for five years at iMore and previously elsewhere. He covers all of iMore's latest breaking news regarding all of Apple's products and services, both hardware and software. Stephen has interviewed industry experts in a range of fields including finance, litigation, security, and more. He also specializes in curating and reviewing audio hardware and has experience beyond journalism in sound engineering, production, and design.

Before becoming a writer Stephen studied Ancient History at University and also worked at Apple for more than two years. Stephen is also a host on the iMore show, a weekly podcast recorded live that discusses the latest in breaking Apple news, as well as featuring fun trivia about all things Apple. Follow him on Twitter @stephenwarwick9