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Head of England's test and trace told to self-isolate by her own app

FILE PHOTO: Dido Harding, Executive Chair of NHS Test and Trace, makes her way, following the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in Westminster, London, Britain November 10, 2020. REUTERS/John Sibley

LONDON (Reuters) - Dido Harding, the head of England’s COVID-19 test and trace system, has been told to self-isolate by her own mobile phone app.

“Nothing like personal experience of your own products this overnight,” she wrote on Twitter on Wednesday above a graphic from her phone with the message ‘You need to self-isolate’.

“Feeling well. Many hours of Zoom ahead,” she added.

Harding was appointed to run England’s coronavirus tracing programme in May with the task of overseeing a team to locate contacts of those who tested positive for the virus.

However, there was criticism of her appointment because of her limited experience of health care and also as her husband, John Penrose, is a lawmaker from Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s Conservative Party.

Official figures showed last week that the proportion of contacts of positive cases reached by her system remained at record lows, with about 60% of contacts reached, well below the 80% target.

Her system has managed to reach Johnson, who was told to self-isolate on Sunday, and her husband, who received the same instruction from his phone app on Nov. 9.

Reporting by Michael Holden; editing by Sarah Young