The UK’s contact tracing application is inaccessible to 21% of the adult population who do not use the latest smartphones. The pandemic has exposed a digital divide where the poorest and oldest in society have limited access to the latest technology, says GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company.

Oliver Lockett, Analyst at GlobalData, comments: “The most vulnerable to the disease have limited access to a potentially life-saving app.

“The UK Government’s contact tracing policy must use a mixture of Bluetooth apps and manual contact tracing to ensure that the most vulnerable in society are included.”

Bluetooth contact tracing applications have a limited reach in society and only people with the latest smartphones can access them. Manual contact tracing is performed by volunteers who attempt to find all contacts of a confirmed case by all means available, and test them for infection.

Lockett continued: “Governments must focus on bolstering armies of manual contact tracers and use smartphone applications to complement contact tracing, not replace it.”

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