Britain U-turns to Google-Apple for tracing app


Britain said Thursday it will use technology developed by Apple and Google for its troubled coronavirus tracing app, completing an embarrassing U-turn after weeks of delay.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s government was due to start unrolling its own app at the start of the month, but those plans were shelved after an initial testing phase revealed major problems.
“We have agreed to join forces with Google and Apple to bring the best bits of both systems,” Health Secretary Matt Hancock said.
He said the UK technology worked well on Google’s Android system but not the one operated by Apple, meaning that distances between people were not always being recorded well enough.
“Coming together in this way will bring together some of the best minds to find a solution to this global challenge and help to save lives,” Hancock said.
Johnson, whose government has faced sharp criticism over its response to the pandemic after more than 42,000 deaths, promised to deliver a “world-beating” test and trace system.
But after trials of the app on the Isle of Wight, off England’s south coast, the tracing system went live without the tool as ministers began to downplay its significance.