COVID-19 contact tracing app based on Apple-Google API launches in England and Wales

England and Wales launched a COVID-19 contact tracing app on Thursday, allowing users to trace contacts, check the local level of risk and record visits to restaurants and other businesses, four months after the technology was promised to the public.

Apple-Google COVID-19 contact-tracing scheme


The government had said a COVID-19 app would arrive in May, but early trials were dogged by problems, and developers abandoned home-grown technology in favour of Apple and Google’s model in June.

The app uses Bluetooth signals to log when a user is in close contact with another user, generally meaning within two metres for 15 minutes or more.

If someone then tests positive for COVID-19, they can choose to share the result anonymously with their close contacts, who will each receive an alert and will have to isolate for 14 days.

The app generates a random ID for each user to protect privacy, and matches cases on the device rather than on a central server, as was the case in the first iteration.

It will also enable users to book a COVID-19 test subject to availability, check symptoms, and register at venues using a QR-type bar code displayed by businesses.

MacDailyNews Take: Good luck with this contact tracing app, England and Wales, but don’t expect it to deliver miracles.

The whole thing is basically a pacifier.

Even if you forwent the smartphones (1 in 5 people don’t even have a smartphone in the U.S., for example; 1 in 6 in the U.K.) and instead sent a dedicated contact-tracing bracelet to every single person in the country, you’d still be stuck with widespread non-compliance, inability to force compliance in many countries, non-charged / forgotten / lost bracelets, Bluetooth issues, false positives, etc., etc., etc.

Contact tracing / exposure notification apps are nothing more than pablum for the masses. It’s simply a case of governments wanting to be able to tell citizens, “Want to feel safe while getting back to work, shopping, going out to eat, vacationing, etc.? There’s an app for that.”

“Don’t worry. Be happy. Download this app and go about your business, before the economy is irrevocably decimated.”

Might these apps help in some cases to get the relatively few people who will use them to seek testing or self-quarantine if/when the alarm goes off? Of course. But, overall, these apps are little more than security blankets for the citizenry to clutch on their way to herd immunity / vaccine and, for governments that use a centralized system (unlike this one), to track the spread of infections on the way to herd immunity.

More about the myriad issues of Bluetooth COVID-19 contact tracing apps can be found in our Takes
here, here and here.


    1. Our costs from ‘free’ healthcare keep growing while access time to services gets longer. At this rate it is estimated that within 25 years it will consume almost 70% of the federal budget alone!

      Isn’t Socialized health care wonderful?

      Signed…a concerned Canadian

    2. The delay times in Canada vs. the US reflect a political decision to prioritize access to elective surgery on the basis of medical need, rather than ability to pay. Rich people in America can jump the queue, reducing average wait times. Poor people do not lengthen the wait times because they are often unable to obtain elective surgery at all. In Canada, everyone gets the surgery but those with a lower medical need have to wait longer, regardless of their personal wealth. Those who have the money and are unwilling to wait can travel abroad.

      1. Allow a multi-tiered system in Canada then. It already happens, so just legalize it. Do you really believe celebrities, politicains and professional athletes don’t get immediate attention?

    3. Canada has great healthcare. Unlike that guy in the US who was shot while protecting his kids at a car dealership. Has now been dropped from two jobs because of the shooting and has mounting medical bills.
      A hero in Canada but a zero in the US. Yes please enjoy your health care system. You deserve it.

  1. Want an effective means of managing Covid19? Start with protecting the elderly and those with multiple underlying conditions that Covid19 seems to wreck havoc on. Teach the younger how to keep from killing their grandparents. How about personal taking your own personal hygiene to another level? An app is 100% useless unless you are obsessed with game playing. You don’t need an app to book a test and if you need an app to check symptoms, then you’re an fool. Registering for a venue? You’ll have plenty of time prior to the event to get infected and become a super-spreader. How about those that don’t have a smart phone or those that feel healthy but are asymptomatic carriers? This app thing crosses the line of stupidity on so many levels.

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