UK News Test and trace system failed to reach nearly 250,000 close contacts

12:35  18 october  2020
12:35  18 october  2020 Source:   dailymail.co.uk

Backlash as police get test and trace data

  Backlash as police get test and trace data Michael Gove was forced to defend police being given personal data through the NHS Test and Trace system amid a furious privacy row yesterday. Experts and public health officials reacted with anger when it emerged police had been given powers to request details of people who had been told to self-isolate in England.The agreement between the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) and the National Police Chiefs’ Council was revealed as Test and Trace chief Dido Harding admitted the system was ‘not a silver bullet’ to tackle coronavirus.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock has again defended test and trace , despite it recording its worst ever performance, with just 63% of contacts of infected patients tracked down last week.

The NHS Test and Trace system failed to reach a quarter of contacts , new figures have revealed. Despite this, a total of 132,525 people who had been identified as recent close contacts of people who had tested positive for Covid-19 were reached through the tracing system and asked to self-isolate.

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The Government's Test and Trace system has failed to reach nearly a quarter of a million close contacts of people who have tested positive for coronavirus, new analysis has found.

Private firms Serco and Sitel failed to get in touch with 245,481 contacts in England either online or from call centres over four months - missing nearly 40 per cent of contacts, the figures show.

SAGE has warned the system needs to call at least 80 per cent of all contacts and ensure they self-isolate, in order to stop the spread of infection.

Labour said the figures, released by the Department for Health, show test and trace is 'on the verge of collapse' and highlight the need for a short national lockdown to allow the Government to fix the system.

Test and Trace hits lowest weekly figure with less than 60% of contacts reached, latest report shows

  Test and Trace hits lowest weekly figure with less than 60% of contacts reached, latest report shows The NHS Test and Trace system has had its lowest weekly figure since the scheme began, with less than 60% of close contacts of people who tested positive for coronavirus being reached. © PA The system reached 59.6% contacts in England in week ending 14 October Just 59.6% of people in England were reached through the system in the week ending 14 October, according to the latest figures.This is the lowest weekly percentage since it began and is down from 63.0% in the previous week.For cases handled by local health protection teams, 94.8% of contacts were reached and asked to self-isolate in the week to October 14.

In many outbreak areas, the centralised system is failing to reach clinical targets of tracing 80 per cent of named contacts , which epidemiologists The health secretary, Matt Hancock, said last week that “the test and trace system at a national level makes the immediate and very rapid first attempt

Under the current system , contact tracers attempt to reach close contacts of an infected person by text, email or up to 10 times by phone call. Kate Hollern, the Labour MP for Blackburn, said the national test - and - trace system had failed . “People are out there spreading the virus unknowingly due to this

And just two days ago NHS Providers, which represents NHS Trusts across the country, blasted the system saying it was 'deeply unfortunate' that there was 'still clearly a long way to go until our Test and Trace system is fit for purpose'.

An NHS track and trace staff member holds up COVID-19 testing kits at a test centre amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, in Bolton, Britain, September 17 © Provided by Daily Mail An NHS track and trace staff member holds up COVID-19 testing kits at a test centre amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, in Bolton, Britain, September 17

The Government defended the system, saying Test and Trace is 'breaking chains of transmission' and had told 900,000 people to isolate.

Boris Johnson pledged in May that the system, which has cost £12billion, would be 'world-beating'.

He also pledged to get all coronavirus test results out within 24 hours by the end of June, but this promise has not been met.

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  Quarantine to be cut to seven days - but 'businessmen exempt' The government's Covid-19 taskforce is understood to be considering slashing self-isolation for those who come into contact with infected individuals to between a week and 10 days. There are also claims that City dealmakers, hedge fund managers and company bosses flying into the UK could be exempted from border quarantine rules to help boost 'global Britain' after Brexit. The quarantine changes - which could come into force within weeks but would not apply to those who test positive for the disease - come amid growing dissatisfaction with the performance of the Test & Trace system among ministers and MPs.

England’s “world beating” coronavirus test and trace service is failing to reach more than half the contacts The data also shows that less than half of close contacts are being reached in Oldham Last week, Blackburn with Darwen saw a spike in infections, with cases rising to 47 per 100, 000 people.

The error meant that although those who tested positive were told about their results, their close contacts were not traced . The health secretary has said a technical glitch that saw nearly 16, 000 Covid-19 cases go unreported in England "should never have happened".

Experts say speed in turning around the kits is vital to ensuring those infected and their close contacts are reached quickly and asked to self-isolate.

A successful tracing programme has long been hailed as a way to ease lockdown measures.

Labour's analysis of official figures released this week showed more than 26,000 people in the week up to October 7 were not contacted in north-west England, where the Liverpool region and Lancashire have been plunged into the severest restrictions.

The Prime Minister has threatened to impose the Tier 3 measures on neighbouring Greater Manchester, even if local leaders do not consent because they are demanding greater financial support.

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But the proportion of close contacts who are successfully being reached and told to self isolate has dropped from 90.7 per cent in week one. Call centre staff trying to reach people who have come into contact with positive coronavirus cases say many people ignore their calls because the 0300 prefix is

The NHS Test and Trace system will see anyone who develops Covid-associated symptoms told to self-isolate and get tested . The Royal Society believes that contact tracing reduces infection by up to 15 per cent and will miss cases, but even a marginal effect could be crucial in bringing the R

Shadow Cabinet Office minister Rachel Reeves said: 'We are at a decisive moment in our efforts to tackle coronavirus, and these figures are a new low for a test and trace system on the verge of collapse.

'The Government is wasting hundreds of millions on a system that doesn't seem to function or even use basic common sense.

'The Prime Minister must act now to reverse this trend. That is why Labour is calling for a short, sharp circuit break to fix testing, protect the NHS and save lives.'

The figures showed that the private firms did reach 372,458 contacts in the period of the data, May 28 to October 7.

Doubts over Number 10's £100billion 'Operation Moonshot' plan

  Doubts over Number 10's £100billion 'Operation Moonshot' plan Ministers had initially planned to roll out the scheme to all residents in Salford, Greater Manchester. But it has been scaled back to those most at risk amid concerns over test accuracy.Ministers had aimed to provide regular testing to all 254,000 residents in Salford, Greater Manchester, to allow them to lead 'normal' lives again without the need for social distancing.

The system has been unable to reach 15% of close contacts identified - 4,809 people - either because they were unavailable, their contact details were In the first week of the test and trace scheme, contact was made with 5,407 people who tested positive for coronavirus, asking them to

Britons who fail to answer calls from the NHS Test and Trace service may now face a knock on the door after The national operation is still failing to find half of close contacts of infected people, well below the 80 Nearly 100 local councils are considering setting up their own contact tracing teams.

'Complex' cases - which include outbreaks linked to hospitals, care homes, prisons or schools - are handled by local health protection teams, which statistics show have far higher rates of success.

A Department of Health and Social Care spokesman said: 'We're continuing to drive forward local contact tracing as part of our commitment to being locally led, with more than 100 Local Tracing Partnerships now operating, and more to come.'

He added that, when including local teams, 84% of contacts had been traced 'where communication details were provided'.

This week Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer called for Mr Johnson to implement a two to three-week national circuit-breaker lockdown so test and trace can be improved.

The Prime Minister on Friday continued to resist the move, which has been suggested by the Government's Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage), but said he 'can't rule anything out'.

Sage has also said in recently published documents that the system was only having a 'marginal impact' on Covid-19 transmission.

Read more

Tougher coronavirus restrictions affecting millions more come into force .
It comes as the Chancellor announced an emergency multi-billion pound bailout aimed at supporting workers and firms.Greater Manchester moved into the highest alert level, Tier 3, on Friday morning, and Wales will introduce its two-week “firebreak” lockdown at 6pm.

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