“The use of an App was not a major factor in South Korea’s success,” they said in a joint statement to the Telegraph.
“In contact tracing, the human element is all important and the follow-up actions to ensure that contacts of positive cases are alerted and advised on actions, including isolation, to prevent further spread.
“This is the process that will suppress the virus and manage possible outbreaks or ‘hot spots’ of infections. The £300 million investment in strengthening further the new track and trace programme is most welcome as is the recognition of the pivotal role and contribution of local government, and their public health teams, to the next phase of managing the pandemic.”
In a statement issued by NHSx, Sir Jonathan Montgomery, chair of the Ethics Advisory Board, suggested he does not share concerns over an alleged lack of information from the Government.
The University College London professor, who previously headed the Nuffield Council on Bioethics, said: “Given the scale of the threat from the pandemic, the NHS needs to act quickly to identify how technology can best be used to protect people. The board has received early sight of papers and had regular briefings from those involved in building the app. This has enabled us to provide advice which has been positively received.”
The ethics board was established to “provide independent constructive challenge to the team developing and deploying the NHS contact tracing app”, he added.
“Information is shared with the EAB, in good faith, enabling it to provide informed and constructive advice,” a Government source said.
“We have worked quickly to build the NHS Covid-19 App because that is what the situation demands, but we would never let that urgency compromise our commitment to clinical safety, transparency, ethics and the law. To claim otherwise is inaccurate and uncorroborated.”