Inconsistencies, Inaccuracies and Bad Design: The UK’s COVID-19 App Fiasco

10 min readOct 24, 2020

When COVID-19 hit the UK earlier this year, it quickly became clear that something needed to be done to help stem the tide of infections. There needed to be a way to track COVID cases across the population, to figure out what areas had the most infections, and to encourage those in said locations to isolate to minimise further effects.

But gettig that data was not an easy task. After all, the initial attempts to keep the virus under wraps meant it’d spread to much of the world, and the initial lacklustre government response in the UK made it worse, with millions potentially infected after the initial ‘herd immunity’ plan fell through.

So the obvious solution here was to create an app, and track COVID infections that way. By doing this they’d gain an understanding of where people were getting infected, and provide a way to notify those in the area to isolate themselves for a few weeks to prevent further issues.

Unfortunately, this hasn’t exactly go according to plan. No, while the idea of a tracking app for COVID-19 was a good one, the actual implementation leaves a lot to be desired.

Even after the initial disaster that was the government forging their own path and ignoring what worked in other countries. There Apple and Google had worked together to create one model for COVID tracing apps, but the UK government and NHS decided they knew better, and completely ignored it. This was a huge disaster in of itself, and one that resulted in them just using the Apple/Google model anyway, after millions of pounds in wasted work went down the drain.

But that’s not what I’m talking about today. No, I’m talking about the current track and trace app, and how that too is a complete and utter dog’s dinner.

You ready? Let’s begin.

Starting with an obvious issue that someone surely would have foreseen by now.

That being that the UK doesn’t have one app here.

No, it has three. England and Wales use one app, Scotland uses another one, and Northern Ireland uses another one entirely.

This means going to a different area involves installing an entirely different app if you want to track cases there, even if said area is just a few hours away by car. That’s not ideal to say the least, and is a huge hassle in a region as small as the UK.


Gamer, writer and journalist working on Gaming Reinvented.