Coronavirus - Commons Urgent Question

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 4:00 pm on 22nd June 2020.

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Photo of Baroness Thornton Baroness Thornton Shadow Spokesperson (Health) 4:00 pm, 22nd June 2020

To follow on from the question asked in the previous debate by the noble Baroness, Lady Rawlings, in the last week the Secretary of State, when explaining the failure of the NHSX app, said that the Government are committed to trying and supporting any innovation that might work in this pandemic. That attitude is to be applauded, as long as it is not linked to exaggerated promises—and of course it means that some things will not work. It is therefore puzzling that the Government refuse to partner and adapt the Covid Symptom Study app, which might close the gap on the two-thirds of infections not currently being identified and fit into the existing human contact tracing effort. Some 3.5 million of us take 30 seconds a day to report our health; with government support, that could easily and quickly be 10,000,000. The founders from King’s College and ZOE have written to the Prime Minister today. In the spirit of trying everything to find a solution, will the Minister encourage a positive response to that initiative?