BE sensitive, be safe, continue following social distancing measures – and don’t switch off your NHS Covid 19 app.

That’s the message to the people of York from the city’s York Central MP Rachel Maskell ahead of ‘Freedom Day’ on Monday.

The Labour MP says there has been an ‘exponential rise’ in people being pinged by the app, which has prompted many to switch it off.

She has called on the government to fix the app so that a ping means only that you need to go and get a PCR test immediately, rather than starting to self-isolate straight away.

“Getting a test is the best way of knowing if you have Covid 19, so the app should be an indication that you need to go and get a test,” Ms Maskell said. “Test and release systems can then let people return to work as soon as there is confidence that they are negative.”

The problem with the NHS Covid app at the moment is that it is too sensitive, Ms Maskell said – so that people are being pinged even if they were several rooms away from someone with an infection, so had not genuinely come into contact.

Fixing the app would be an effective way to make sure that no-one was locked down that didn’t need to be, while ensuring that everyone who had Covid19 must stay home, Ms Maskell said.

But until and unless the app is fixed, the MP has urged people to keep it switched on, and to isolate when it instructs them to do so.

She has also urged people to continue to follow social distancing measures – by keeping at a two metre distance from others when they go out distance, wearing a facemask, and maintaining hygiene standards.

“Just as we were reaching the final hurdle in this race against Covid19, we are now in danger of doing another lap - something none of us want,” Ms Maskell said.

“We all long for the day when we don’t need to keep our distance or cover our faces.

“However, as infection rates spiral out of control again, people are becoming poorly and tragically some are dying. Now is not the time to give up. There is no greater act of kindness than to ‘be sensitive and be safe’.

“We have come through the ups and downs of the last 18 months together, showing our kindness and support for one another, respecting each other’s space and making sure that aerosol droplets are not passed onto others.

“We just have to go that further bit forward to bring those infection rates down again. I know what a caring and supportive community York is. Therefore I implore you not to throw caution to the wind at this point, but to continue to protect one another.”

The MP has also asked for the local contact tracing system to be restored, as she says it was 'highly effective in locking down the virus'.