Analysis Breaking

Breaking: whole foundation of UK contact tracing collapses as ’15 min exposure’ rule falls apart

US Centres for Disease Control report that minutes should be counted per 24 hours, but UK system only notifies based on consecutive minutes’ exposure

The whole premise of the UK’s ‘test and trace’ system has fallen apart with a change of the way exposure to infected coronavirus sufferers is calculated.

The ‘Serco app’ and the system behind it identify those at risk of infection based on the assumption that fifteen minutes’ unbroken exposure is needed for a significant likelihood of transmission. However, the US Centres for Disease Control (CDC) have just issued new guidance that massively expands the number of people at risk – and makes the entire basis of the UK system inadequate.

The CDC have now said that fifteen minutes’ exposure over a 24-hour period within six feet of an infected person is enough for the infection to have a high chance of spreading. On this scientific basis, the UK app therefore missing a potentially huge number of people likely to be infected and passing the virus to others unaware.

The Tories have spent hundreds of millions of pounds on its privately-run ‘NHS’ app (compared to a few hundred thousand for the far more effective Irish app) – and if they are remotely interested in actually suppressing the virus, it’s now redundant and is unlikely to be able to monitor cumulative contact without a complete rewrite.

The SKWAWKBOX needs your help. The site is provided free of charge but depends on the support of its readers to be viable. If you can afford to, please click here to arrange a one-off or modest monthly donation via PayPal or here to set up a monthly donation via GoCardless (SKWAWKBOX will contact you to confirm the GoCardless amount). Thanks for your solidarity so SKWAWKBOX can keep bringing you information the Establishment would prefer you not to know about.

If you wish to republish this post for non-commercial use, you are welcome to do so – see here for more.


    1. Ages ago, public health hazard that is Dido Harding was clear. Dodo oversaw the then largest KNOWN data breeches in UK history at Talktalk. Yet the sinister BloJob & Cummings directed debacle of a govt has splurged £BILLIONS on PRIVATE scams … suited BANDITS: Serco, G4S, Ranox, Deloitte … on and on, yet not a peep out of SIR Keith Clampit Max Headroom Starmer about any of these private dodgy outfits.

      The public purse has been and IS being ravaged by the private scroungers for every last penny they can extract. YET the same crooks deny food from children. Starmer tries to pretend he agrees with Rashford, a babe by comparison. Had Keith a tiny dot of vision or hint of integrity, he would not need guidance from young footballer Rashford.

      I hope Rashford compares and contrasts the obscene amounts handed to Tory donors re Covid-19 and everything else AND the amounts of taxpayer funded fine food and wine guzzled at the Houses of Parliament. Until then, Starmer will keep his over gelled head down, desperately awaiting his turn to Tory.

      1. SignpostNW: “Serco, G4S, Ranox, Deloitte … on and on, yet not a peep out of SIR Keith Clampit Max Headroom Starmer about any of these private dodgy outfits.”

        It’s entirely possible that Sir Keir’s trilateral billionaires completely approve of the contemptible corporate “competitors” that Boris & Co already sponsor (bung strings-free public money to).

        Starmer is not an antagonist to capitalism’s corrupt practices – he just has different trilateral billionaire chosen horses in the same-old capitalist race.

      2. quertboi – On the contrary Keir Starmer has challenged BJ on a number of occasions in the House of Commons about the Tories awarding contracts without a transparent tendering process. You should try watching the parliament channel, it is quite informative.

  1. This is atrocious. It’s not just the Serco app which is the problem, but, principally, the model which the app’s developers (Serco and its outsourced third parties) used to build its processes and blocks. Serco necessarily had to specify and sign-off software against a model and an agreed set of “terminal objectives” which the life cycle plan should then follow.

    The Conservative Government broke the most basic systems development (efficacy) requirement for shameful commercial and IDEOLOGICAL reasons. They were so eager to give large wads of public money to their sponsors and friends.

    The MOD had learnt the lesson which our vile government disregards in the 1970s and 80s. The PRINCE Systems Development Methodology and rule book was the result. Even when more iterative or “agile” practices are necessary, the same principles apply.

    The Tories are not just guilty of failing to apply rigorous tendering practices so they can award big fat payments of public funds to their friends with zero ie no transparency, they are also failing to specify the need for key performance criteria when they award their loose, woolly, probably incomplete contracts to their friends and supporters.


    1. Quertboi…. “Big fat payments of public funds” too my former constituency Mp fatty Soames(Churchils grandson),now Lord Soames who still lives in Sussex and has always fed himself from Serco and the corrupted public funds.Like pigs at the trough these pigs have leeched of our money for centuries.The whole stinking rotten fiasco of the establishment parliament needs to be dragged down.Even in the middle of a pandemic they still continue to feed on us.The shame of it is that its even rampent amongst the Labour mps ( big pharma Smitty)and his limp challenge to Corbyn.and now the knight and his misfits..How much and were from the funding to snatch the Labour party from the Socialist revival.Britains last chance for reform taken away by foreign backers of the right wing destroyers.

  2. Dodo and dido both only score 6 though, and you could have scored 7 with dildo.
    You’ll never become a scrabble sensei if you don’t concentrate.

  3. Another Tory ‘Grande Plan’ failure.
    The ‘Operation Moonshot’, Government’s grand plan to develop a rapid turnaround testing programme, has predictably fizzled out into a damp squib.
    In response to legal action by Good Law Project, Dale Vince, AI Diagnostics, and EveryDoctor, the Government has
    quietly agreed that ‘Operation Moonshot’ will be absorbed into the existing Test and Trace programme. They have also abandoned plans to spend £100 billion, a figure first revealed in the Government’s own leaked documents, on the project.
    It’s a far cry from Boris Johnson’s grandstanding in Parliament just a matter of weeks ago and more proof of the mess this Government is making of the UK’s testing programme.
    But call it what you like – ‘Operation Moonshot’ or Test and Trace – the Government continues to refuse to answer some really rather basic questions we have been asking for some weeks about their plans for a mass testing programme. Our lawyers have written to Government yet again to press for transparency:

    •Why were contracts for this programme awarded without any advertisement or competitive tender process?
    •Why did the Government fail to consult their own experts, the National Screening Committee over the plans for rapid testing?
    •Will tests delivered by ‘Operation Moonshot’ be free of charge, or will the public be forced to pay, as suggested by Head of Test and Trace Dido Harding?

    Unless we get satisfactory answers we will, have no doubt, issue proceedings.

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: