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Britain's Covid-19 Test and Trace Chief in Self-isolation After Service Alert

Dido Harding, Executive Chair of NHS Test and Trace, makes her way, following the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in Westminster, London, Britain November 10, 2020. REUTERS

Dido Harding, Executive Chair of NHS Test and Trace, makes her way, following the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in Westminster, London, Britain November 10, 2020. REUTERS

Baroness Dido Harding revealed on Twitter that she would have to isolate until November 26 after the NHS Test and Trace smartphone app pinged her to say 'you need to self-isolate'.

The chief of Britain's COVID-19 National Health Service (NHS) Test and Trace system has gone into self-isolation after an alert from the network she is in charge of. Baroness Dido Harding revealed on Twitter that she would have to isolate until November 26 after the NHS Test and Trace smartphone app pinged her to say "you need to self-isolate".

"Nothing like personal experience of your own products… got this overnight. Feeling well. Many hours of Zoom ahead," she tweeted, alongside a screenshot of the app alert. Harding's husband, former minister John Penrose, had already been in self-isolation. The Conservative Party MP for Weston-super-Mare had revealed last Monday that his NHS app had "just gone off" and told him to self-isolate.

"We are trying to make sure we are doing it by the book, if I can put it that way. Her NHS app has not gone off, so it's someone I have been in contact with rather than her," he said in reference to his wife at the time. According to NHS guidance, if you are told to self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace but are not displaying COVID-19 symptoms, then people you live with do not need to self-isolate with you.

Harding has been under some pressure over the Test and Trace scheme and faced criticism as several reports indicated that it wasn't working robustly enough. Latest figures published last week revealed that four in 10 contacts of those who tested positive were being missed. However, Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who went into self-isolation after his NHS Test and Trace app pinged him, stressed that it proves the system is working.

"The good news is that NHS Test and Trace is working ever more efficiently. The bad news is that they pinged me and I've got to self-isolate because somebody I was in contact with a few days ago has developed COVID, he said, earlier this week. He continues to work from Downing Street and addressed his first-ever Prime Minister's Questions (PMQs) in the House of Commons via videolink on Wednesday.

first published:November 18, 2020, 20:43 IST