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Anger over Track and Trace lack of data use

Hospitality sector trade body UKHospitality is furious after a new report revealed check-in data from millions of people who visited pubs and restaurants before lockdown, was barely used by NHS Test and Trace.

The report obtained by Sky News, has admitted the failure of the £22bn service of the use of data alerts or the use of contact tracing which meant “thousands of people” were not warned that they might have been at risk of infection with COVID-19, “potentially leading to the spread of the virus”.

However, to make matters even worse, when the acquired data from hospitality venues was used, public health officials encouraged pubs and restaurants to contact customers directly which is a breach of data protection law, therefore potentially leaving businesses open to possible legal action. With the report suggesting lack of guidance from Test and Trace for local public health teams on how to use the data left businesses “being asked to, or volunteering, to contact customers and visitors themselves”.

UKHospitality chief executive Kate Nicholls said: “It is incredibly frustrating. Our teams worked really hard to capture that data on the understanding it was going to be used should there be problems. To hear it wasn’t used, and the fact we had further restrictions without really any clear evidence that there was a problem with hospitality, is a major cause for concern”.

NHS Test and Trace not only failed to use covid-19 data collected by venues, but it also failed to employ the QR code alert system built into the £40 million contact tracing app. According to the most recent Test and Trace figures, there were over 100m ‘check-ins’ to venues around the UK with the app, but analysis showed that the software instigated just 284 alerts from 276 venues.

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