Coronavirus: Lincolnshire could take part in test, track and trace trial

Health bosses feel Lincolnshire could be used as another pilot area for the test, track and trace app due to be trialled on the Isle of Wight.

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The county’s rurality, broadband issues, and number of residents without access to technology would present their own challenges that would need to be ironed out, said Tony McGinty assistant director of public health at Lincolnshire County Council.

The trial was announced by Health Secretary during Monday’s national press

“Lincolnshire’s got some particular characteristics to test with,” said Mr McGinty.

“It’s not going to be a one-size fits all for anywhere probably and certainly not for Lincolnshire with our demography, geography, sparsity and all those issues.”

He said there were concerns that some people would not be able to use it effectively and alternative methods would also have to be sought.

“Even in my relatively small social circle, I was thinking during the announcement about how many people I know that don’t have smart phones or tablets.

“If you spin that out into the wider population there’s quite a few people who don’t have that kind of technology.

“If it’s also necessary to have a good broadband connection for the app to work that is going to be a problem in some places especially if part of the app’s work is real-time feed back to teams that are doing tracking and tracing.”

However, Mr McGinty said he was excited about the prospects of the app if it was successful, especially for how it could apply to tracking and tracing carried out away from Covid-19.

Local plans are being drawn up, and Mr MrGinty said councils and other organisations were waiting “with baited breath” for national clarity.

A previous hunt for 150 volunteers to help with tracking and tracing has also been successful, he said, with people contacting him directly on a daily basis offering to help.