NHSX Adds Features to Contact Tracing App So You'll Actually Use It

By Holly Brockwell on at

The government's NHS innovation arm, NHSX, is trying to come up with ways to make sure people actually download the contact tracing app they've spent a lot of time and money on, particularly as it's apparently not coming until winter, aka "too bloody late."

We would have given pretty much anything to be in the brainstorming meeting for this and find out some of the features that got rejected. Take a selfie to cure the virus, à la Snapchat? A dating service for people who tested negative? A video of Matt Hancock washing his hands set to Don't Stand So Close To Me? Do hit us up if you're short of ideas, chaps.

Per the FT, features that have been approved include a "Geiger counter" map that tells you where the highest infection rates are. Maybe London will have no-go zones after all.

There's also a countdown timer so you know how long you've got left of self-isolation (like you wouldn't be counting the minutes anyway) and a barcode system so "workplaces know if an infected person visited" (yikes).

Honestly, this all sounds a bit ridiculous given that we're nowhere near having a working app that does what it's supposed to do. Maybe think about adding frills when you've actually got something out, guys?!

The app will apparently be marketed as "PPE in your pocket," which makes absolutely no sense. Considering that a lot of people aren't wearing actual PPE in the forms of masks and whatnot, what do you think telling them this app will protect them is going to do? It's going to make them even less likely to take actual physical precautions, isn't it? I can just hear Sunburnt McKenzie in A&E after his trip to the beach, wailing "But I had the app!". [Engadget]

Featured image: Yura Fresh at Unsplash