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November 2, 2020 10:32 pm

Contact tracing app for England and Wales failed to flag people exposed to COVID-19


Photo by PAUL ELLIS/AFP via Getty Images

The COVID-19 exposure notification app used in England and Wales failed to warn users if they were in close contact with potentially infectious COVID-19 patients. Because of the error, thousands of people were not told to quarantine even when they should have been, according to the Sunday Times, which first reported the flaw.

The app was launched on September 24th, and there have been 19 million downloads since. It’s built using Google and Apple’s Bluetooth Low Energy-based system, which monitors nearby phones. If someone tests positive for COVID-19, their app can alert the phones that they were in contact with. The UK originally planned to use its own app, sidestepping the Google and Apple system, but reversed course in June.

Since its...

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