The latest news and insight on how the technology sector is reacting to Covid-19.
Gousto closes £33m in funding as food orders soar
Gousto, a London-based startup focusing on delivering meal kits has closed funding of £33m. Food delivery overall has surged in populations locked down during coronavirus and Gousto says that the money raised in funding will be used to continue investing in its technology, as it adapts to delivering four million meals to 380,000 UK households every month.
Gousto uses an AI engine to personalise customer recommendations of what to cook and eat. The company will also use the funding to improve its back-end logistical tech, building capacity to meet rising demand and expanding next-day delivery. It currently works on a three-day turnaround basis.
NHS contact tracing app would need to target 80% of smartphone users
Experts advising the NHS have said that 80% of smartphone users would need to use the app to help it stop the pandemic. The University of Oxford’s Big Data Institute assessed the software’s impact on a model of a city with a population of one million, although over-70s have not been factored in on the basis that they would be at home and “shielded”.
Academics say that lower uptake would still slow the spread of the disease, and that letting users self-diagnose would be critical. The app would involve an inbuilt questionnaire, and users would not have to speak to a health advisor or wait for a medical test result before being judged at risk of infection. The app would also send a cascade of alerts to those who have been in proximity to someone infected with Covid-19, using Bluetooth signals to determine location.
EU warns strong privacy guards needed on Covid-19 apps
The European Commission has said that any app used in an EU country to contain the spread of coronavirus must comply with its rules on privacy. That means that they must seek consent to use personal data, but exclude location data.
The commission said that all apps made to combat the spread of the virus should be approved by public health authorities, voluntarily installed, and then deleted when no longer needed. Apps should be based on anonymised data, it said.
Ventilator developed by Airbus and F1 approved for use
An updated ventilator model which was contributed to by Airbus, Ford, Siemens and Formula 1 teams has been approved in the UK to be mass-produced at speed.
Penlon, the medical device maker, and the firms that helped to develop the ventilator hope to make around 1,500 by the start of May. The government has said that ventilator stocks will need to be increased from 10,000 to 18,000 to cope with the pandemic – it has now ordered 15,000 of the new Penlon ventilator devices.