German ministers troll Johnson over false contact tracing claim

Lots of countries have working coronavirus tracing apps.

Two German government ministers have tweeted criticism of Boris Johnson’s claim that no countries have a working coronavirus tracing app.

The UK aimed to have a coronavirus tracing app working by the start of June, having spent £12m and trialled it on the Isle of Wight.

But the app does not work well enough to use and the government now says that it will now not be launched until the winter.

During Prime Minister’s Questions, Boris Johnson asks Keir Starmer to name a single country with a contact tracing app. Starmer replies: “Germany. Up and working 15th June. Twelve million downloads.

Germany’s health minister Jens Spahn re-tweeted a video of the exchange and the country’s digital miniser Dorothee Bar quote-tweeted it with the caption: “Genau. So. Ist. Das.” which translates as “that’s the case”.

According to Newsnight’s policy editor, Lewis Goodall, at least six other countries have developed working apps. These are France, Italy, Iceland, Japan, India and South Korea.

Independent fact-checking organisation FullFact added that Australia, Singapore, Latvia, Poland and Denmark also have working apps.

When Left Foot Forward asked Keir Starmer’s spokesperson if Johnson had misled parliament, the spokesperson said it was “another dodgy answer from a Prime Minister who wasn’t on top of the detail”.

Other recent false government claims include when Johnson told parliament that coronavirus patients weren’t sent to care homes and when Matt Hancock said 80% of people in the Isle of Wight wanted to download the tracking app, that 1 billion items of PPE had been delivered and 100,000 coronavirus tests had been done in a day.

During the last general election campaign, one Tory MP said that fact-checkers were “corrosive” after several Conservative claims were judged to be false.

Joe Lo is a co-editor of Left Foot Forward

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One Response to “German ministers troll Johnson over false contact tracing claim”

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    […] Buckinghamshire gets enough for one failed covid contact tracing app. […]

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