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No 10 tries to justify delays to app rollout

DOWNING STREET has sought to defend delays in rolling out a contact-tracing app as an expert warned that it would be “crazy” not to use such technology.

The programme is being prepared for launch on June 1 and Health Secretary Matt Hancock had promised that the app would be ready by “mid-May.”

But due to “technical issues” the app – which has been trialled on the Isle of Wight – will be available within the “coming weeks,” the government said yesterday.

Downing Street also announced that 25,000 contact tracers would be ready to work from June 1.

Carsten Maple, professor of cyber systems engineering at the University of Warwick, said the NHS app was likely to have a strong uptake from the public, adding that it “would be crazy not to use” it.

Keith Neal, emeritus professor of the epidemiology of infectious diseases at the University of Nottingham, said that without the app, contact tracers could only identify the “known knowns” of a person with the virus, such as colleagues, family or friends.

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