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Coronavirus UK: NHS Test and Trace still lacks 40% close contacts


Test and Trace is still missing four out of ten close contacts as the number of people notified has continued to decline since it launched in May

  • 60.5% of the close contacts of people who tested positive in England reported isolating in the week leading up to November 11th
  • It's the fifth week in a row that the number is just over 60 percent
  • The percentage of contacts reached has gradually decreased since Test and Trace was launched

About four out of ten contacts of those who test positive for Covid-19 are still not reached via the test and trace system, as it became known today.

Around 60.5 percent of the close contacts of people who tested positive in England were isolated in the week leading up to November 11, according to the Department of Health and Welfare.

It's the fifth straight week that the number has been just over 60 percent – and the low number appears to be due to government call centers under fire.

Boris Johnson promised in May that Britain would have a "world strike" tracking system.

However, figures released today show that in cases managed by private companies, Serco and Sitel, either online via email or over the phone, only 58.9 percent of close contacts were reached.

In cases managed by local health protection teams, in the week leading up to November 11, 98.9 percent of the contacts were reached and asked to self-isolate.

It came in a week that Prime Minister Boris Johnson and his Test Czar Dido Harding both self-isolate after being "peded" by the official NHS app for being nearby

About four out of ten contacts of those who tested positive for Covid-19 are still not reached via the test and trace system (file photo)

The percentage of contacts reached has gradually decreased since Test and Trace launched in late May, when the number was 91.1 percent.

Downing Street defended the "colossal" successes of Test and Trace, but recognized improvements.

A spokesman # 10 added, "We test more people per capita than any other European country and that will grow thanks to our increased testing capacity."

Of the 156,853 people who entered the system in the week ending November 11, 84.9 percent were reached and asked to provide details of close contacts.

Around 60.5 percent of the close contacts of people who tested positive in England were isolated in the week leading up to November 11, according to the Department of Health and Welfare

Around 60.5 percent of the close contacts of people who tested positive in England were isolated in the week leading up to November 11, according to the Department of Health and Welfare

According to official data, supermarkets are the most common place where people are exposed to the coronavirus in England.

According to Public Health England's weekly surveillance report, nearly 20 percent of the 128,800 cases examined had visited stores in the seven days prior to testing positive.

This was the highest percentage of visits to the 16 locations considered, which also included schools, nursing homes and hospitals.

Supermarkets are one of the few stores allowed to stay open in England's second national lockdown, which ends on December 2nd.

The stores have put in place Covid security measures, including regular cleaning, hand sanitizer at the entrance and only a certain number of shoppers.

PHE experts today insisted that their data does not suggest supermarkets are at the center of coronavirus transmission in the UK and that this does not prove where anyone was infected with the disease.

And Helen Dickinson, executive director of the British Retail Consortium, said it was "misleading and irresponsible" to claim supermarkets are a source of Covid-19 transmission.

She said, "Supermarkets are one of the few places people can visit during the lockdown, so it's not surprising that they have a strong presence when people are asked where they went to."

Supermarkets had the most visits from people who then tested positive, according to a report by Public Health England

Supermarkets had the most visits from people who then tested positive, according to a report by Public Health England

PHE used contact tracing data to determine where those infected with the virus had been in the week before testing positive.

These numbers are "mainly used to determine where someone got their infection," officials say in the report.

Of the 128,800 cases considered, 34,300 had at least one joint exposure with another case of Covid-19.

Secondary schools had the second highest number of cases – 12.7 percent. Primary schools followed with 10 percent and hospitals with three percent.

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