The pharmaceuticals firm GlaxoSmithKline has told staff to switch off the contact tracing function that allows the NHS test-and-trace app to monitor the spread of Covid-19 while at work in case it is “disruptive” to business, the Guardian has learned.
GSK, which is among the companies working on a vaccine for Covid-19, sent the instruction to employees at its research and development labs and some of its manufacturing sites.
It told them to switch off contact tracing, which uses Bluetooth to detect if users have been close to someone who has tested positive for the disease.
Data collected via contact tracing is seen as integral to the government’s efforts to monitor and control the spread of the virus. But GSK told some of its 16,000 UK staff that its measures to prevent Covid-19 transmission were so secure that they did not need to use it while at work.
It said the main reason for the instruction was that it operates a policy of ensuring staff stay 2 metres away from each other at all times.