4th May 2020
Please see below the letter sent to Bob Seely by Labour’s Richard Quigley, with regard to the NHS contact tracing app.
I welcomed our discussion earlier today. We at the Labour Party are very conscious that the 18,000 Islanders who voted Labour at the last election are unrepresented on the Isle of Wight Council, and as you and David Pugh noted, it is important on matters such as this to seek views from all in our community.
As I explained, I don’t have any objection to the app in principle, although there are some practical or technical issues about which I would welcome clarification. In particular, concerns surrounding the issue of false positives and negatives, and how the system might be carefully accessed by younger people. You kindly agreed to facilitate further discussions with the NHS to explore these issues further.
Once the app is up and running, I think islanders deserve to be regularly updated with general information on its use, and how it is helping to test, trace and isolate cases of Covid-19.
Most importantly, we agreed that it is essential to be clear in our messaging, that the app is not an electronic vaccine, and downloading the app does not suspend social distancing guidance for the user. Nor is this a precursor to lifting lockdown restrictions on the island prior to the mainland. It is a trial which might refine the software to be more useful in the future. It will be important to ensure that national politicians and media understand that.
Clear communication is in all our interests, I look forward to further discussions in due course.