Covid ‘pingdemic’: almost 700,000 people sent alerts from NHS app telling them to self-isolate in one week

The so-called ‘pingdemic’ saw another record high with 689,313 alerts sent in a week

Almost 700,000 alerts telling people to self-isolate were sent last week to Covid app users in England and Wales.

The so-called ‘pingdemic’ saw another record high with 689,313 alerts sent to users of the NHS Covid-19 app telling them they had been in close contact with someone who had tested positive for coronavirus.

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The so-called ‘pingdemic’ saw another record high with 689,313 alerts sent to users of the NHS Covid-19 app (Getty Images)

At a glance: 5 key points

- The latest NHS figures, for the week to July 21, are an 11% rise on the previous record high of 619,733 alerts a week earlier.

- This week the Government said it was expanding its daily contact testing for front-line sectors who are exempt from isolation.

- A total of 2,000 sites across the country are available for people working in prisons, waste collection, defence, the food industry, transport, Border Force and police and fire services.

- Daily negative test results will enable eligible workers who have been alerted by the NHS Covid-19 app or called by NHS Test and Trace as coronavirus contacts to continue working.

- Communities Secretary Robert Jenrick urged people to isolate if they are advised to do so, saying there “isn’t very long to go” until August 16 when all fully vaccinated contacts who test negative can avoid isolation.

What’s been said

“I appreciate that it is a significant number of people and it can be frustrating but the app is doing what we asked of it.”

Mr Jenrick talking to the BBC


The Office for National Statistics (ONS) said 75% of respondents aged between 18 and 34 said they fully adhered to the isolation requirements for the entire 10-day period after testing positive for coronavirus.

This was “statistically significantly” lower than the percentage of 35 to 54-year-olds who said they followed the rules (86%), according to the ONS, whose figures are based on responses collected from adults in England between July 5 and 10.

While there is a legal duty in England for people to self-isolate if they test positive or are contacted by NHS Test and Trace, this does not extend to notifications via the app, although the Government strongly advises people to do so.

The latest Test and Trace figures showed the proportion of people not being reached by the scheme to provide details of recent close contacts has hit the highest level for nine months, sitting at 14.8%.

The number of people testing positive in England in the week to July 21 reached 307,758, up 18% on the previous week and the highest number since January 13, according to the figures.

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