Friday 16 July 2021 2:35 pm

Exclusive: 'Pull the plug on test and trace and delete the app', says Pimlico Plumbers chief Charlie Mullins

This week, more than half a million people were pinged by the NHS Test and Trace app, the highest figures ever.

A total of 520,194 notifications were sent out, informing the app’s users that they had been in close contact with someone who had tested positive for coronavirus.

People must isolate for 10 days, leading to major disruption in most industries. Some companies are rumoured to be missing 20 per cent of their workforce.

For Charlie Mullins, chairman and founder of Pimlico Plumbers, the UK’s largest independent plumbing firm, enough is enough. He thinks people should delete the app from their phones.

“When test and trace was launched it was supposed to stop us from having to go back into lockdown, which it failed to do. And now all it seems to be doing is forcing well people into self-isolation for up to 10 days even when testing says they are negative for the disease. This does not make any logical sense, and needs to stop now,” Mullins told City A.M. today.

“People need to delete the app from their phones, it needs to be removed from the app stores and the Government need to switch the system off for good on Monday when all the other Covid restrictions are removed, in favour of the much better weapons in testing and vaccination that we now have at our disposal,” he added.


Questions over the sensitivity of the NHS’ contact tracing app continued after reports that Brits are being told to self-isolate if their neighbours fall ill.

The bluetooth signal used by the app, which underpins the contact tracing technology, is believed to be so strong it can pick up other phones through walls – and send self-isolation alerts.

Mullins thinks the entire set-up is a waste of money.

“Once this automated attempt to bring Covid under control has been killed off maybe the money we’ve been spending on it would be better spent giving the real Covid-fighting heroes of the NHS more than the miserly 1 per cent pay rise currently on the table! It doesn’t work, never did, and has been a colossal waste of £37bn,” he said.

“It makes absolutely no sense for vaccinated people to be subjected to track and trace, and with the added ability we now have to test ourselves regularly and quickly we have a ‘belt and braces’ system that tells you if you are actually infected with Covid rather than one that puts you off work on the off-chance that you might have caught it from a chance meeting with a stranger,” he noted.

Mullins singled out the hospitality industry as a sector that is hit hard by the test and trace app.

“Bar and restaurant owners who have only just got their livelihoods back tell me they are struggling as staff are forever being pinged by track and trace, with some returning to work only to be sent back to isolation a couple of days later. And if I haven’t made my case yet perhaps, I might draw people’s attention to the 6-7 hours passengers were waiting to get in and out of Heathrow because too many staff were off on self-isolation,” he concluded.