Fewer than HALF of coronavirus-infected Britons tell officials who their close contacts are as figures show nearly 130,000 people have now been tracked by NHS Test and Trace
- Test and Trace started at the beginning of June and has reached 135,000 people
- A total 10,058 people who tested positive have given contacts, out of 20,968
- Tracing chief, Dido Harding, said it’s vital people are helpful after diagnosis
Less than half of people referred to NHS Test and Trace after testing positive for coronavirus have given any details of their close contacts, data revealed today.
Of the 20,968 people assigned to the England’s 25,000 contact tracers, only 10,058 have actually given information that the tracers could follow up (48 per cent).
In its report this week, the Department of Health said the people who were unable to give contact details were ones who had only come into contact with complete strangers, such as on the bus.
The staggering number suggests that an app – which automatically links people’s phones so it can alert people who don’t know one another – may be necessary for contact tracing to work perfectly.
From the infected people who have been successfully contacted themselves, two thirds of them were able to give details of one or more close contacts.
Between June 17 and the system’s launch at the start of the month, 15,225 confirmed coronavirus patients have been successfully reached by contact tracers.
But more than one in three – 5,167 people – were ‘not able’ to give details of a single person they may have come into close contact with.
A further 5,062 people who tested positive could not be reached at all by contact tracers – who phone, text and email someone 10 times a day to get hold of them.
Today’s update revealed that a total of 134,893 people – people who have tested positive, and their contacts – have been in touch with NHS Test and Trace in three weeks.
Since test and trace launched, only two thirds of people who picked up the phone have actually given any contact details for people they came close to. When the number of infected people who couldn’t even be contacted is factored in, the proportion of people with Covid-19 giving useful information falls below 50 per cent
Executive chair of NHS Test and Trace, Dido Harding, said: ‘In just three weeks, NHS Test and Trace has already reached more than one hundred thousand people who may have otherwise unknowingly spread the virus.
‘The strength of NHS Test and Trace lies not just in our thousands of trained tracers, but in the public playing their part – providing us with the vital information we need to stop the spread of coronavirus, protect our families and communities, and ultimately save lives.
‘So as lockdown measures are eased, I continue to urge all those experiencing symptoms – a high temperature, a new, continuous cough, or a loss or change to your sense of smell or taste – to book a test immediately.
‘We also need everyone who is contacted by NHS Test and Trace to respond to our calls, texts or emails and to follow the advice the receive.
‘As we have seen from the start of this pandemic, it will take all of us working together to stop the spread of the virus in our communities and that will continue to be true as the country starts to open up again.’