Coronavirus in UK live blog: latest as UK begins testing new contact-tracing app on the Isle of Wight

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Tuesday, 5th May 2020, 10:21 am

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A man wearing PPE (personal protective equipment) passes customers queuing to enter a recently re-opened Pret-A-Manger shop which had originally closed-down due to the COVID-19 pandemic in London (Photo: TOLGA AKMEN/AFP via Getty Images)

Coronavirus live blog, May 5

Last updated: Thursday, 01 January, 1970, 01:00

Sir Patrick Vallance: 'we are in the early stage of the epidemic'

Sir Patrick said we are still "quite early" in the epidemic.

He said: "Although most countries are getting on top of the first peak in some ways it doesn't mean the whole thing's gone away."

He was asked if he knew back in March what is known now, whether events such as Cheltenham and the Champions League match would have been allowed to go ahead.

He said: "In terms of what would I do in retrospect, if we knew then what we know now, I think that's something for the future to look at and certainly there will be times when evidence didn't allow decisions to be made that you could make now, and there'll be times at which you look back and say that something might have been done differently, I've got no doubt about that.

"When you look at everything that happened, the speed at which it happened, maybe days either way would have made a difference, but I think it's difficult to look back and say three weeks was an obvious point to do it, I don't think that was clear, I don't think it's clear now."

Amnesty International: Government 'opening the door to pervasive state surveillance' with app

Amnesty International UK director Kate Allen has said the Government should look at app models where contact-tracing data stays on a user's device.

The organisation's concerns that "the Government may be planning to route private data through a central database, opening the door to pervasive state surveillance and privacy infringement, with potentially discriminatory effects" was put to the Health Secretary.

Mr Hancock responded: "That's completely wrong."

He said: "The data is stored on your phone until you need to get in contact with the NHS in order to get a test.

Hancock said there is "high privacy" in the coronavirus contact-tracing app.

He said a user's phone will store anonymously the information about all the phones it has been within two metres of for more than 15 minutes in the previous few days.

Testing of tracing app will ensure Government 'get the rules right'

Health Secretary Matt Hancock has said one of the aspects being tested in the trial on the Isle of Wight is whether the best thing is for someone who gets a message saying they have been in contact with someone with symptoms should self-isolate "in case you develop the symptoms".

He told BBC Breakfast: "This is one of the reasons that we want to test it to ensure that we get the rules right around what we advise people to do as soon as the contact tracing pings you."

'High level' of reassurance needed before lockdown can be lifted

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer has said that just as there was a consensus going into lockdown, there should be consensus coming out.

“I sense that people are really worried about lifting of lockdown. They're really worried about going back to work.”

Sir Keir said a national consensus would give "a degree of confidence", adding: "There was a consultation document the government put out last weekend which was pretty vague, and it needs strengthening.

"I think people will want to know if I'm going back to work, is it a safe environment, what's being done about social distancing, what are the hand-washing facilities, if I need protective equipment am I going to get it?

"It's that degree of reassurance.

"If you don't have the protective equipment, and that means that people get infected, we're going to be right back where we started."

He said protective equipment for workers is not a "luxury item" that would be "nice to have".

Contact tracing app testing set to begin on Isle of Wight

Isle of Wight Tory MP Bob Seely has urged people in his constituency to back a new coronavirus contact-tracing app being piloted on the island.

He told BBC Radio 4's Today programme: "I think there is a great deal of interest.

"Talking to the experts and the scientists, anything above 20% and 25% gives us decent and good data.

"The exponential benefit hits when you get about 50%, or near that, and then, effectively, you can trace the virus.

"Then, by helping those people with it, we starve the virus of other people to infect and the virus dies out."

Stephen Fry: 'theatres won't open before next year'

Stephen Fry has said he cannot foresee any theatres opening to live audiences until 2021, adding that these are "dark times indeed" for the performing arts.

Writing in the Eastern Daily Press, he said: "I cannot see any theatres opening to live audiences before next year I'm afraid.

"Perhaps March or April, a full year after the first lockdown."

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