NHS Test and Trace suffers second software glitch in a week

A woman in a facemask during the coronavirus crisis touching and looking out of a window
(Image credit: Shutterstock)

More than 7,000 people have been given the wrong dates for self-isolation due to another software glitch plaguing the UK's Test and Trace app.

Users of the service that had come into contact with a person that had tested positive for coronavirus were given incorrect start and end dates for quarantine, according to Sky News.

A total of 7,230 people in England were affected by the error, the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) confirmed. Users were told to isolate for longer than needed, and while most were re-contacted with the correct end date, 2,455 individuals had already served their quarantine periods before they were reached.

This marks yet another failing of the government's Test and Trace system, and is the second glitch to be reported this week. On Monday, it was revealed that the app was suffering from a bug that stopped thousands of users from receiving notifications to self isolate.

The app was first promised in April 2020 but then delayed several times due to various concerns, including potential security risks and compatibility issues.

Since its launch in September, it has been riddled with issues. Two days after its release it was revealed that tens of thousands of NHS tests were not compatible with the app's build version, and in October it was revealed that a technical error, attributed to Microsoft Excel, saw around 16,000 cases not counted in the system.

Health officials told Sky News that this latest glitch had now been fixed and that steps had been taken to make sure it did not happen again. It is believed that an internal update to the system used by human contact tracers is the cause.

A DHSC spokesperson said: "We have reassessed the self-isolation periods for a number of people who were contact traced, following close contact with someone who tested positive for COVID-19."

Bobby Hellard

Bobby Hellard is ITPro's Reviews Editor and has worked on CloudPro and ChannelPro since 2018. In his time at ITPro, Bobby has covered stories for all the major technology companies, such as Apple, Microsoft, Amazon and Facebook, and regularly attends industry-leading events such as AWS Re:Invent and Google Cloud Next.

Bobby mainly covers hardware reviews, but you will also recognize him as the face of many of our video reviews of laptops and smartphones.