The so-called ‘Pingdemic’ is over! Or, at least, the worst bit is. From today anyone ‘pinged’ by the NHS Covid app will not be required to self isolate for 10 days but will instead be advised to get a PCR test. The only catch: you’ll need to be double-vaxxed.
The NHS Covid app is programmed to alert anyone whose phone has been in close proximity to another user who later tests positive for COVID-19. The resulting ‘ping’ then condemns that user to enforced isolation for up to ten days. The result? Chaos!
Having worked relatively well over the last few months, when COVID levels remained relatively low due to lockdown, the numbers of ‘pingees’ soared as the infection numbers started their Virgin Galactic style stratospheric climb.
The numbers of 'pingees' soared as the infection numbers started their Virgin Galactic style stratospheric climb...
Thanks to the heavy lifting done by the vaccine the result wasn’t the feared overwhelming of the NHS or a huge spike in deaths, but another catastrophe altogether: KFC had to change their menu…
The sheer number of pings has left the workforce depleted. Combined with some residual Brexit fallout, the UK is 100,000 lorry drivers short, for instance. This means that deliveries have been unable to reach their destinations, leading to shortages (KFC issued a statement last week explaining that some of their menu items wouldn’t be available due to the issues).
The sheer number of pings has left the workforce depleted...
The Prime Minister and Leader of the Opposition have had to isolate, shops are short staffed and hospitality is struggling. The Pingdemic was threatening an economy that was just getting back onto its feet.
So four things have happened. Firstly the vaccine has been so effective that the COVID numbers have come down significantly (though they’re still high), schools have broken up for their summer hols, the NHS app has, bizarrely when you think about it, been made less sensitive and, most importantly, as of today, the rules have changed.
The new rules came into force at midnight and say that from today anyone pinged by the NHS app is not required to isolate for ten days, provided they’ve had both their vaccination jabs. Though, of course, if a vaccinated person tests positive for COVID then they will have to isolate.
Every single one of these sacrifices has helped us protect the NHS and save lives...
According to Health Secretary Sajid Javid “Asking the close contacts of people with COVID-19 to self-isolate has played a critical role in helping us get this virus under control, and millions of people across the UK have made enormous sacrifices by doing this.
“Every single one of these sacrifices has helped us protect the NHS and save lives.
“Getting two doses of a vaccine has tipped the odds in our favour and allowed us to safely reclaim our lost freedoms, and from Monday we can take another huge step back towards our normal lives by removing self-isolation requirements for double jabbed people who are contacts of people with COVID-19.”
Of course this only applies to anyone who is double jabbed, single jabbers will have to go along with the old rules and isolate. Yet another reason to get the jab, though (whispering) post-ping isolation was only ever advisory.
Perhaps you can turn the app back on now?
Though school bubbles will also benefit from the new rules. Children aged 18 or under will not have to isolate if ‘pinged’ either. The worry was that schools would face serious disruption if the ‘pingdemic’ dragged into the new term. Though, given most under-16s won’t be eligible for jabs, this may be a little more experimental.
So, there we go. Perhaps you can turn the app back on now?