Bus drivers in Oxford are being urged to switch off the coronavirus test and trace app on their phones to avoid “false alarms” when they are inside their cabs.

The advice is contained in an internal Oxford Bus Company newsletter which has been seen by the Oxford Mail.

It suggests the “false alarms” could occur because people sitting on the top deck immediately above the driver could activate the app even though they have not come into contact.

Oxford Mail:

OBC managing director Phil Southall

The newsletter said: “We would like to recommend to driver colleagues who have downloaded the NHS test and trace app that they should switch off the ‘contact tracing’ section or have their phone turned off when they are in the driver cab.

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"This is because the app works on a proximity of two metres and this could affect colleagues when a customer is sat on the top deck directly above the driver. The cab screen protects colleagues and therefore although the proximity may register on the app the driver could have had little or no interaction with the customer. This advice is being given to minimise false alarms.”

When asked about the guidance, Oxford Bus Company managing director Phil Southall said: “We offered guidance to drivers in line with the latest government advice on how to use the track and trace app.

"It recommends people working behind protective screens temporarily switch off the contact tracing feature on the app when behind the screen, to avoid false positive readings. We relayed this advice to colleagues as the risk is they, or customers, could be asked to self-isolate incorrectly, due to an alert being triggered when there is no close contact.”

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Chris Coleman, managing director of Stagecoach in Oxfordshire, said: “We have advised staff that whilst it is really important to use the app and leave it on as much as possible, there are certain scenarios whilst at work where the contact tracing feature should be paused in order to avoid false alerts.”

Oxford Mail:

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The Department of Health and Social Care website says there are there are some workplace scenarios when you should "pause the contact tracing feature including working behind a screen or putting your phone in a work locker."