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MP Meg Hillier calls on government to let Hackney test its Covid-19 track and trace app

PUBLISHED: 19:35 18 May 2020

A mobile test centre for Covid-19 in Dalston. Pictured (from left) Council staff Nicky and Peter from Adult Social Care, Steve from Civil Protection, Mayor Phil Glanville and the Grenadier Guards. Picture: Hackney Council

A mobile test centre for Covid-19 in Dalston. Pictured (from left) Council staff Nicky and Peter from Adult Social Care, Steve from Civil Protection, Mayor Phil Glanville and the Grenadier Guards. Picture: Hackney Council

Hackney Council

MP Meg Hillier wants Hackney to be the next area to pilot the government’s new Covid-19 track and trace app.

Hackney South and Shoreditch MP Meg Hillier. Picture: Stefano CagnoniHackney South and Shoreditch MP Meg Hillier. Picture: Stefano Cagnoni

She’s been calling on government to ramp up testing in the borough and thinks Hackney’s diverse population makes it the perfect spot to try out the contact-tracing app currently being put to the test on the Isle of Wight.

Ms Hillier told the Gazette: “If you can do it in Hackney you can do it anywhere.”

She says the borough has already got some infrastructure in place because of the good work people in the NHS and public health already do on sexual health.

“There’s a well-worn path with our young population and also, we have a [general] population very different from the Isle of Wight.

“[One that is] digitally divided and ethnically diverse. There’s a mixture of people with some living in poverty and overcrowded conditions – all the things we will have to think about if we’re doing tracking and tracing.

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“It’s no good just saying here’s an app with a smart phone and it’ll be fine – when you’re credit runs out how will it work?”

Isle of Wight residents were the first to be offered access to the contact tracing app which the government hopes will minimise the spread of Covid-19 and help to safely ease lockdown measures.

When an individual reports symptoms through the app it detects other users they have been in contact with and alerts them anonymously - offering useful advice on how to get tested.

Ms Hillier, MP Dianne Abbott and Mayor of Hackney Phil Glanville have written to the health secretary stating the need for more testing in Hackney and their proposal for a track and trace exercise in the borough.

The MP for Hackney South and Shoreditch has also been in touch with MP and Baroness Dido Harding who was appointed to lead the Covid-19 track and test programme.

“I’m writing to her just to say we’re ready and we can do this.

“We have the resources to do it. Lets just get on with it and give it a try,” said the MP.


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