/ Technology

Have you installed the NHS COVID-19 app yet?

Is your phone able to run the NHS test and trace app? Here’s why the app won’t work on ‘older’ devices, and how mobile operating systems go out of support.

Have you installed the NHS Covid-19 app yet? Or have you been put off by the myriad stories circulating on social media that it’s being run by Serco (it isn’t), that it’s tracking your every move (it isn’t) or that it’s sending out alarming false alerts that you need to self-isolate (it’s sort of doing that, but not really)?

Or perhaps you just don’t have a phone that’s new enough? We’ve seen many complaints from people that their phone can’t run the app. 

It’s true that only phones that can either run iOS 13.5 or Android 6 (Marshmallow) can run the app, and it’s worth digging into why that is.

Low-energy Bluetooth chips

The app works by using the Bluetooth low-energy chip in your iPhone or Android device to detect other phones nearby also using the app. It logs how much time you spend near those other phones and how close you are to them, and stores those logs on your phone.

If someone then tests positive for COVID-19 and chooses to upload their logs, you will get an alert telling you that you need to self-isolate.

Scam alert: fake NHS coronavirus contact tracing text

All of that requires hardware that’s only found on newer phones: older devices simply don’t have the required low-energy Bluetooth chip.

However, the launch of the app has exposed a gulf between what the general public and those involved in tech consider an ‘old’ and a ‘new’ phone. 

Unsupported hardware

Earlier this year we published research that revealed that up to a billion Android devices around the world are running on an old, unsupported version of Android. In our reporting, we covered the kind of malware that could be lurking on those old phones.

Since then I’ve had many, many conversations with friends, Which? members, TV and radio hosts and others about this problem. Many people, quite rightly, are horrified when they discover that their older device, which seems to work perfectly well, isn’t safe to use and should be replaced.

The root of this problem is that Google, which manages the version of Android most of us in the west use, does not update the platform after three years.

That means not only will a phone not get any more new features in new versions of Android once it’s past its end-of-life date, more crucially, it won’t get any security patches.

The news is slightly better with iPhones: Apple supports its phones for up to five years. The general rule of thumb with iPhones (and iPads) is that if you can’t install the current version of iOS, then it’s time to replace your device. For the record, the oldest iPhone that can install iOS 14 is the iPhone 6S.

Apple does occasionally put out updates for devices it’s no longer officially supporting: the last update it put out to iOS 13 was to roll out the underlying software framework (the ‘API’) that allows the NHS Covid-19 app to work. If your phone can download and install iOS 13.5, you can run the NHS Covid-19 app.

The most recent version of Android is Android 11, which will be on many new phones bought now. Most phones bought in the past year will be running Android 10, and if your phone is running Android 9, also known as Android Pie, you should still be getting security updates.

The NHS Covid-19 app also works on phones running the now unsupported Android versions 6, 7 and 8 (Android Marshmallow, Nougat and Oreo).

Data from Statista suggests that most Android phones globally are running Android 9, or Pie (31.3%), but there are still a fair number of phones on older versions.

How ‘old’ is your phone?

The introduction of the COVID-19 app has focused many people’s minds on how old their phones are.

It’s infuriating to have to think about replacing a device that seems to work perfectly well, and it’s particularly frustrating when we think about the impact on the environment of devices that only have a short shelf life.

All I can say is: I really sympathise, but I’m also here to say that if your phone can’t run the COVID-19 app, please think about replacing it as soon as you can. 

In the meantime, here are some steps you can take to reduce the risk of using an old device:

Be careful what you download: only download apps from the Google Play store – don’t install apps from any other source. (iPhone users can only install apps from the official App store.)

Be careful what you click on: it’s a bad idea generally to click on links unless you absolutely trust the source, but if your phone isn’t supported any more, you’re more at risk of accidentally downloading virus, cryptominers and other malware.

Back up your data: make sure all your precious photos and other files are safely backed up, ideally in two places: a separate hard drive and the cloud. That way if the worst happens, you will at least still have your files.

Install mobile antivirus: there are many choices in the Google Play Store: pick one from a big, reputable vendor such as Sophos, AVG, Kaspersky, etc. If your phone is very old, you might find that you don’t have much choice, however.

Do you feel the NHS Track and Trace app is safe?
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Comments

I’m still running a Windows Mobile 6.1 phone because I like it and it can do a lot more things, more easily than my wife’s Android phone.
I see no reason to pay a fortune to effectively downgrade my phone.
If they want me to be part of track and trace then they should provide a program that runs on my device of choice not theirs.

M.I.KEENAN says:
9 October 2020

It is impossible for me to register. Having hand problems, phone keyboards are too small. I use a laptop to access the net and use a land line for the phone. There must be thousands of elderly people [the most vulnerable age group] in the same position. Well done,
Government!

Dr Peter Nupend says:
9 October 2020

Yes, my employer (a large university) has provided us with Microsoft phones… and no, I don’t want to buy another phone and carry two with me where ever I go. We need an app to work on a wider range of phones – new ones as well as old – if the government is serous about track and trace.

Electronic Biker says:
17 October 2020

I agree with ‘tired’ and all the following comments as at 2pm on Oct 17th. My mobile phone is a Sony-Ericsson K750i, it is about 12 years old and still going strong. The ‘Code Memo’ is brilliant, I have yet to see it on any new phone and there doesn’t seem to be an ‘app’ that does the same thing. It fits in any of my pockets without restricting movement, unlike the vast majority of phones available today. It also takes mighty fine photographs with it’s meagre 2 mega-pixels, and from what I’ve seen recently on other people’s phones I’d have to spend about £800 on a new phone to get the same performance. I won’t be doing that every 3 years unless I win the lottery.

I have to ask – why use phones at all? Why can’t we all carry a device that is about the size of a key-fob, as used on some vehicle tracking systems? The device would run just the one ‘app’ and would only transmit encoded ‘rolling’ data (just like a car key-fob) for identification purposes and positional information. The cost to the government would be negligible so they’d be sent free in the post, the number of perfectly useful mobile phones being scrapped would be zero, nobody would be restricted in their choice of phone OS, the device would never need to take five minutes to start up, and it would fit in the plectrum-pocket of a pair of jeans. What’s not to like?

Alan C says:
9 October 2020

I absolutely agree with Brilec, to pay several hundred £’s for a phone with a lifespan of 3 years is lunacy, unethical and simply a cash cow for Google and the phone companies who then avoid paying the tax they should rightfully be paying. Yet people complain about having to update Microsoft Windows after a long life span. My view is a lot of this is phone snobbery driven by people who must have the latest device, to which I say get a life and concentrate on the most important thing in all our lives – the planet we live on! Come on Which, you should have started a protest about this a long time ago.

Diana Higgins says:
9 October 2020

Its easy to use and I like the reassurance I get from being told if its
a low or medium risk place I’m visiting. Government can’t do everything
and its up to us to keep the risk low. Wish UK Government would do
Hands, face, distance reminders on TV though to keep reminding the
covidiots of their duty to the rest of us.

Alasdair Sutherland says:
9 October 2020

Does the article’s information refer also to the Protect Scotland app from NHS Scotland?

It seems also to apply to the protect Scotland app. Certainly won’t load on to my otherwise perfectly functional Sony Experia M. Like others, being forced to discard perfectly useable kit in order to support public health is infuriating. It is also infuriating to find Which effectively condoning, rather than loudly opposing, this waste of resources.

Chris Field says:
9 October 2020

I absolutely agree with the comment about Which condoning the requirement to (expensively) discard serviceable smart phones. I was under the impression that Which were actively campaigning against planned obsolescence.

I think Which? is in a difficult corner here, because unsupported phones can contain unrepaired security loopholes.

As those can be exploited by hackers to commit fraud, it is risky to use any such devices for applications such as online shopping or banking.

As Which? regularly campaigns in favour of “risk free” online banking, they cannot really then also recommend the use of unsupported devices at the owners’ risk.

Quite. But they could join with other consumer groups to persuade the manufacturers, directly or through (EU) sustainability legislation, to provide a guaranteed period of security support of, say, 6 years – ideally more – from when the phone model was discontinued. That timescale, whatever it is, should be clearly shown when a phone purchase is being considered. Most would be quite unaware of the restricted “safe” life.

@evgeni-hristov It would be interesting to see if, under the Consumer Rights Act 2015, a claim would be valid under the contract condition with the retailer that requires a product to be reasonably “durable”. I’d suggest a 2 year life to end of security updates, such as on some Samsung phones for example, should be considered as clearly lacking durability as they become unfit for purpose – you can’t perform the secure operations, for which they are designed to be used, with confidence . Perhaps someone from Which? Legal could comment.

In the same vein a defect in the OS should be seen as inherent. Therefore, if it is not updated, you should be be able to return it to the retailer for up to 5years for ‘repair’, or pro rata refund. Sellers would soon get fed up with the durability of product being supplied to them if it started to cost.

Adrian says:
9 October 2020

I have an unsupported iPone 6. I receive my son’s hand me downs so by the time I get his next phone I expect it will be unsupported. I’m not especially ‘green’ but even I can see the madness of this built in obsolescence by the tech companies especially as these devices contain expensive resources

Tony says:
9 October 2020

My mobile phone is an Apple iphone 5s – hardly an antique and quite capable of What’s App calls to Australia to my daughter …….. but unable to download the Covid 19 App. Disappointing too as I am over 80 and “vulnerable”. Assume that only 1/3rd of the population is able to use the app, developed at a cost of billions (?), is it a cost-effective tool?

I don’t think there are any easy choices for fighting back against covid. So if the app can be used by enough people to have some significant effect on the UK R value, then it will be worth it.

For example, R is approximately 1.5 right now. This means that the average infected person is managing to infect 1.5 others. If the app allowed us to reduce that number by 1/3rd, then we would level off the current infection rate.

In practice, I think we are going to need a combination of measures to achieve this, including more lockdown measures.

Scottie says:
20 October 2020

The APP in itself can’t stop anyone catching anything. What it does is to inform another phone of proximity.

Peter says:
9 October 2020

In spite of the FAQs stating that the App “does not access or track your location”, the App posts a warning that “Exposure Notifications are inactive – To use this feature, turn on location”. This occurs if you do not permanently keep your GPS location tracking switched on!
Not only does this seem like a deception it is surely not required if as we are constantly told in the media reports (usually compiled from Press Releases) that the App relies on Bluetooth, with (conveniently?) never a mention of Location Tracking.

Peter, GPS is just one of several technologies that phones use to determine their own location. GPS is a power-hungry technology, and most of the time the phone will use another technology such as triangulation via mobile base stations unless a very precise location is needed. Therefore your GPS won’t be on all the time.

Peter H says:
12 October 2020

Read what I wrote! I know exactly what GPS is and am aware of triangulation from Cell Towers. That does not affect my objection to the App demanding that “location” is switched on – it shows the warning if GPS is switched off. One of the reasons for objecting was that GPS is power hungry as well as disclosing my location data. However, I thought the deception in the FAQs was more serious than the power issue, so I omitted the latter when I posted my comment – sorry for any confusion caused to NFH!

LesG says:
9 October 2020

I can see the benefit of using the app, in spite of the technological issues, but is the effectiveness limited by how well the testing/tracing regime is (not) doing?

As I understand the NHS Covid-19 App, the usefulness of the Bluetooth tracing functionality is totally dependent on anyone subsequently getting a positive Covid-19 test or diagnosis declaring it via the App. It is this action that then alerts others who have been in proximity to that phone as to whether they should self-isolate.

Since there are some selfish people who won’t bother to inform others of the outcome of their tests, at least immediately (a former US President springs to mind!), it really does devalue the usefulness.

(I’m not talking about the function to scan a QR code as you enter a restaurant or pub. That is just a substitution for the pen and paper method. You should still be contacted then if an infection is traced back to those premises.)

Peter says:
10 October 2020

In my mind the problem is very simple. Why should Joe public have to rite off a £300 to £700 investment after 3 years! (Android) or even after 5 years IOS. The fact that the companies concerned do not support OS for longer periods is a monopolistic action and should be forbidden under the Restraint of Trade regulations (or othersimilar anti monopoly trade Regulations) with a required minimum OS support of at least 10 years.
Conversely if a Government or national body whshes an App to be universally used then the App should be written to work on a maximum percentage of phone types currently in use – say 90%

Peter, no one needs to spend that much to get an adequate smartphone.

True Derek, but I when I bought my Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge, I had no idea it would be unsupported in less than 3½ years.

@alfa, nor when I bought one alfa, just 2 years ago. I have asked (above) whether this loss of security , affecting functions for which phones are normally purchased, counts as lack of “durability “ under the Consumer Rights Act 2015. Which? Legal often reply to such questions.

Electronic Biker says:
18 October 2020

I would dispute that very strongly, although a lot depends on your definition of ‘smart’ as applied to mobile phones. Some authorities include any phone that has facebook installed, which is clearly not the case.
The cheap so-called ‘smart’ phones have, in general, awful cameras, small memories, terrible keyboards (both virtual and real buttons), bad choices of colours that can’t be changed (e.g. poorly-defined dark blue characters on a dark grey background for both entering and reading text messages) and appalling user interfaces to ‘apps’. You should try setting an alarm clock accurately by dragging the hands round the dial (even with a good dabber) on a 3″ screen – talk about frustrating. They also feature cut-down operating systems and therefore the number of ‘apps’ that will run on them is very small. Hardware is often limited, so you might not get a GPS receiver amongst other things.
Most of the problems with cheap so-called ‘smart’ phones are not detailed on the outside of the box, and the dealers flatly refuse to demonstrate them.
I have yet to read a good review of a smart phone being sold at a reasonable price. When I do, I might be tempted to upgrade to one.

I think the sweet spot for an inexpensive smart phone is about £100, for which you can get something like my Honor 8s.

The ideal price point will depend on exactly what you want to do.

Right now, at least with Android phones, I would avoid anything with less than 2GB ram and less than 32GB of backing store.

I don’t have a mobile phone apart from the one from work that can run the app but I don’t carry that around if not working/on-call. And there have been some issues with folk getting alerts due to proximity to others with a barrier between them.

There have been suggestions that coronavirus Infections are much more common than the official figures, such as this report in New Scientist: https://www.newscientist.com/article/2237475-covid-19-news-one-in-170-people-in-england-have-coronavirus/

The current Covid-19 app is just one of the ways that we can help others and ourselves to help spread of the virus. It has not been very successful yet but hopefully those that can use the app will do so.

David says:
10 October 2020

Let us for one moment consider that the virus may have been released intentionally in order to destabilize world economy.
Now let us also consider where the majority of electronic equipment is made.
Could it just be that certain people are using these possibilities to boost the sale of smartphones?
It’s just a thought.

Do you have any evidence to support your thought?

It’s food for thought. Its origin has been traced to bats, a delicacy in Asian countries.

Let us for one moment consider that this theory is correct … .

How is it useful? What does it inform us to do any differently?

If I already have a smartphone, do I install the App? Or do I not install the App?

If I don’t have a smartphone should I buy one? Or not?

Maybe I should refuse to wear a mask as a matter of principle and increase my chances of catching Covid-19 and passing it on to others. After all, aren’t we playing into the hands of “certain people” who make a lot of the world’s PPE?

In summary, the virus is out there. We should deal with it as best as we can in the circumstances and not waste time and opportunities playing mind games. It makes no difference as to whether people get sick or not.

We should concentrate on not spreading the virus. So don’t go abroad, wear a mask (and I also use gloves), wash hands, keep clear of people, stop moaning about pubs closing early – you can drink at home – and why risk going to a football match. When Donald has invented a vaccine and it is all over we can get back to life as normal and rebuild the economy. My parents lived through 6 difficult years of war and deprivation; worse than what we are going through, I would suggest.

Agreed @malcolm r. My mother, who was 22 years old when the war ended, worked in an aircraft factory. She told of how German aircraft would fly over and try to machine-gun staff if they were outdoors on the way to/from work, or on a lunch break.

If you think life is intolerable because you can’t go to the pub with your mates, meet in the park, or you are isolated in a hall of residence living on meagre rations, think again.

Agreed, Em.

In 2018–19, there were 2.38 million students studying at UK higher education institutions. There’s bound to be the odd complaint.

There were approximately 50,000 university students in 1945; the numbers rose to around 80,000 by the early 1950’s. Did they complain about rationing and austerity? I expect so.

It doesn’t help when the media are on the side of the poor students. Perhaps they should turn their attention to studying.

I agree, Alfa.

I have tried to give you and others the thumbs up but despite my going out and coming in again the system will not sign me in. My name is at the top of the Conversation entry page but disappears when I go into the comments. Will this ever end?

PS : After posting the above the system signed me in. Coincidence, or what? Thumb duly inserted.

The media seem to be on the side of poor anybody, as long as it can score points off the government. Even Which? (Travel) continually moan about the hard done by foreign holidaymaker. When I was at university my grant (we were lucky in those days) was just enough to get by on with supplementary money from holiday jobs; it didn’t stretch to binges down the pub – perhaps student loans are too high?

As I see it, we still know relatively little about the way to control the virus spreading other than a total lockdown. So we try to balance efforts to get parts of life going back to something more normal but when the spread reacts adversely we need to take instant decisions to counter that in areas we think might be most effective and least damaging. And without the benefit of time to properly investigate. Unfortunately picking on pubs, clubs and bars might be detrimental to those businesses but I do not see them as essential compared to other workplaces where people congregate.

I may be being too kind to those in charge. But I do wish we had more of a national spirit recognising the devastation the virus can cause and a more positive attitude to conquering it, from all the media – print, online and the Today programme.

Still, Donald has shown how quickly we can learn everything there is to know about COVID and how to gain immunity and a full recovery in just 3 days. Who needs doctors?

That’s funny, as soon as heard he had it I predicted he would make a remarkably quick recovery.

I get so fed up with the negativity of the news and media, I just have to stop watching and listening to it.

A friend of mine who has been keeping well away from people had to go into hospital in emergency because of kidney stones and stayed there for three days. He felt unwell after discharge and a test showed he had coronavirus. He has recovered very rapidly. Some people do and others continue to suffer for long after – the so-called ‘long Covid’.

I assume every student has a computer, so why can’t they just stay at home and study online until the virus has run its course? Lectures are easily transmitted via YouTube.

I acknowledge the importance of student social coalescence as an important part of their learning processes, but during these difficult unprecedented times, I would have thought that compromise is also an essential feature that would contribute towards the maturation of all young potential professional academics.

Universities do make use of online resources for teaching, generally via a VLE (virtual learning environment), which offers a variety of tools for teaching, learning and assessment, all password-protected. Before I contributed regularly to Convo I had spent years in online discussion with my students on our VLE.

Now that it looks as if coronavirus will be with us for longer than many had expected I expect that universities will move towards distance teaching, Beryl.

I feel that the prevailing assumption that a fundamental benefit for young people going to university is to assist their integration into society and develop their social skills should not continue to go unchallenged.

I would actually suggest that continued existence in a cocoon of same-age people with similar aptitudes and expectations for three or more years after leaving school is not necessarily a good thing. It could actually r****d their maturity. In any case, it is elitist since many young people never get that chance and there is therefore a prejudicial presumption that they are socially disadvantaged.

I think the experience of starting on the bottom rung of a career is a good way of acquiring the essential life skills and civilised behaviours that society expects. This can be coupled with vocational training and apprenticeships but the discipline and interaction of the world of work exposes young people to more influential aspects of real life, involvement with a wide age range of people of diverse backgrounds, and a useful platform of intelligence that would benefit their future development.

There is a place for higher education and I recommend it for all those who can benefit from it but I see no reason why it could not be deferred for two or three years. This would help ‘late developers’ to participate more easily and it would also mean that the university intake was more resolved and better equipped for the specific courses.

Even for longer periods of higher education for professions like medicine or architecture, for example, a spell on the lower slopes in such a working environment would make attendance at university more efficient and the tuition better focussed.

Note: I cannot believe that a word that means ‘set back’ has to be reduced to asterisks, presumably for fear of offending someone who might not understand alternative [verb form] usage of a meaningful word. We do not use the word in its pejorative sense in the UK.

John – I can only speak about science teaching, where peer support is an important part of the learning process. Students help and encourage each other, so that skills are developed and shared. In some cases this is encouraged by setting group tasks.

Nowadays there are many opportunities for late developers and those who saw earning money or starting a family as a higher priority than higher education. Universities now accommodate many disabilities, dyslexia being one of the most common.

I would like to see more young people take a year or two out of education before deciding whether to go to university or further education, but it becomes increasingly more difficult to get into the discipline of studying.

When a word is replaced by asterisks this is done automatically by a computer that does not understand the context. A simple solution is to replace the word with a synonym – perhaps ‘delay’ would be appropriate.

Thank you, Wavechange. I can fully appreciate those arguments. Given that people will be working to age 67 or 68 in due course, a later start to university would not necessarily be harmful I feel. The early years in a working environment that settles their aspirations could make a positive contribution to their development however. I agree there is possibly a case for different approaches for different disciplines.

I have also been wondering whether we can really afford to have 2.38 million studying at higher education institutions. I recognise that number encompasses three or more intakes. Have any studies been done to ascertain how many graduates are needed to satisfy the country’s needs and in which courses? That would be a simplistic approach and would need some latitude in its application to cope with the unknown elements of future requirements but it might help guide policy.

A classic example of computer ineptitude.

Students brains are still developing during late teens and as Wavechange makes the point, they learn from each other both academically and sociably.

Breaking their dependency on parents can also be a difficult time for some students, but it is a necessary part of their education before embarking on their chosen career in a tough competitive world.

Perhaps Wavechange will comment on whether he experienced any difference in the academic progression of mature, as opposed to less mature students.

Thanks John. I will reply later in The Lobby, having realised that we are supposed to be discussing the NHS Covid-19 app here. Beryl – My limited experience was that mature students were more mature, had more commitment but more commitments outside their course, and academically they were not the high fliers.

Wavechange – I considered substituting a different word for the asterisked one but decided not to because I felt strongly that I should be able to write freely in my own language using correct words with discrete meanings. The English language is extraordinarily rich but so much of our vocabulary is having to be abandoned because of ignorance of usage or the inability of some to discern and discriminate properly. In the end we have to capitulate to this tendency but I wanted to make a stand on this occasion after the unexpected moderation of my comment. I am slightly consoled that it is computer-driven and that no human beings were implicated in this outrage.

I ventured into online discussion in 1995, in the days when not many were using computers and there was a wonderful period before some contributors started to be rude to others and automated computer systems to deal with potentially offensive words arrived. I have not posted on other forums for years so have no idea if these systems have evolved to cope with context better than the system used on Convo. I’m rarely caught out here because I try to beat the system by choosing words that won’t upset the computer. I find the continuing log-in problems more frustrating.

Electronic Biker says:
18 October 2020

The thought was phrased as a question – it even has a question-mark at the end of it. Questions don’t need evidence, they just exist. It is the answers that might need evidence. Or, if a question goes unanswered, evidence that the question was asked might be needed in the future.

The response was also phrased as a question.

Andrew Frame says:
11 October 2020

Installed the app while on holiday in Scotland. After returning to England I found out that it didn’t apply to Scotland. 3 days after returning to England I got a notification which immediately disappeared. Found out the next day that this was a glitch and could be ignored. The day after that I got another notification of possible contact and was informed that the risk was being assessed. Since then nothing. I had been to one shop and my GP. 14 days self isolation ends tomorrow. I suspect that it was a false alarm. Could have done with more information.

Angela Rice says:
12 October 2020

Hi

I have just got a new iPhone 11 and it won’t let me download the app was fine on my old iPhone 6 but not this one. I keep getting the error message.

‘Sorry you can’t run this App’

This may be due to restrictions on your phone.

This may either be because it is a company phone – which it isn’t – or another app is using the same technology and stopping this app from working.

Can anyone help

The ‘NHS Covid-19’ app does not work on the iPhone 6, so I suspect you have downloaded the wrong app. I suggest you try again and if that does not work you have free support on a new phone from Apple. Best of luck.

TandyP says:
16 October 2020

Go to Settings > Exposure settings > Turn off and delete data and you will be able to download the app

L Jones says:
13 October 2020

I still use an ancient (but fully working Nokia), so I can’t sign up to the app. However, restaurants are refusing entry unless you scan the app, and do not appear supplying a paper option to note down your mobile number or email address. The signs outside clearly stated that you can’t enter until you’ve done this. I’ve seen this at Pizza Express, Yo Sushi and in several motorway services (for seating areas) over the weekend. The strange thing is, patrons were entering the restaurant without a mask on, and weren’t being challenged (Pizza Express).

Dsvid says:
15 October 2020

I use and I phone 5 having have a 6 and 7 die within contract and not just battery or screen crack – so no intention .. Interestingly two food venues ask if I have track and trace said no and they both said ok no need to leave details then …

@roryboland, @gmartin, Rory, George, why is Which? more concerned about supporting the travel industry and holidaymakers, who have knowingly taken the risk of booking overseas breaks, than minimising the risk of COVID cases and protecting the health of the UK?

“Which? responds to Italy being removed from the travel corridors list
15 October 2020
Rory Boland, Editor of Which? Travel, said:

“The government’s travel corridors system has all but collapsed, with most destinations now removed from the list and holidaymakers with trips booked to Italy for half term facing the potentially lengthy and stressful process of trying to claw their money back from their airline or travel provider.

The travel industry is in dire need of urgent targeted support if it is to survive the winter months. The government must look to seriously reform the sector, in order to help struggling companies that are prepared to meet their legal obligations to holidaymakers and ensure people are protected when coronavirus restrictions prevent them from travelling as planned.

Personally, I would think the Government has more important industries to support. Which?, in my view, would do better to advise against overseas travel until the epidemic is properly controlled. We have enough problems controlling it already without adding imported COVID.

Obviously the Which? Travel team is bound to have a different take on the situation than the general public who, so far as I can see, are overall fully supportive of the measures the government is taking and are acting responsibly by not travelling abroad. This is not only good for our collective health but better for the economy to keep cash in the country rather than spending it overseas and then creating unnecessary problems with their outward or return travel arrangements. A number of commercial sectors are on the brink of collapse; I am not convinced that the travel trade is a special case for protection or additional support over other productive and major employment sectors.

There is an understandable degree of discontent among certain citizens in the areas that have been included in Tier 2 and Tier 3 under the special regulations, but the measures do appear to be justified and they are defined in terms of territory and duration so they can easily be scaled back, without affecting other areas, when the incidence of infection there has been reduced. People who have become used to enjoying a free and easy life find these arrangements intolerable but government has a duty to protect the population as a whole. One person interviewed on television suggested that severe restrictions should apply to elderly and unwell people but the rest of the country should be left alone. I hope the Which? Travel team have not been infected by that attitude but their jobs do depend on there being a thriving holiday industry – although they don’t seem to be so concerned about the equivalent threats hanging over the cruise market.

I am sure that as soon as foreign travel is safe, and people can afford to go abroad again in large numbers, aircraft and crew and the infrastructure required will be there to serve them. The names and the people might be different but holidaymakers will be able to escape this septic isle in due course.

Regarding phone manufacturers not providing ongoing upgrades to Android on their phones, there is currently a petition on change.org to try & persuade Sony to provide the Android 10 on their Xperia xz1 and xz1c phones. Anyone who could sign this petition would perhaps add a bit of pressure to improve on the current scandal of lack of ongoing support for phones after only 3 years.
See https://www.change.org/p/sony-android-10-for-sony-xperia-xz1.