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NHS Test and Trace fails to ask nearly 30% of Covid contacts to isolate

The NHS Test and Trace programme is still struggling to reach the contacts of those testing positive for Covid-19 to ask them to self-isolare, the latest data has revealed.

Official figures showed that only 71.3% of close contacts were reached and asked to self isolate between 6 and 12 August – and this was down from 74.2% the week prior.

It comes after the Government announced it would overhaul the NHS Test and Trace programme to give local authorities a greater role in contact tracing, with the hope of reaching more people to stop the spread of Covid 19.

According to the weekly Test and Trace figures, 431,268 people were newly tested for coronavirus during the period, which was a decrease of 2% from the previous week.

There was a 27% increase in positive results, with 6,616 new people testing positive for the virus.

However, a processing delay also meant the number of people transferred to the contact tracing system during the period dropped by 3%, despite an increase in positive results. This meant that 681 people who tested positive during the period will be included in the next week’s data period.

Out of the 4,803 people transferred, only 78.8% (3,787) were reached, with 19.9% (956) not reached, and 1.25 (60) had no communication details.

Since the programme launched at the end of May, almost four million people have been tested.

The news comes as health secretary Matt Hancock has outlined plans to replace Public Health England with a new ‘health protection’ body called the National Institute for Health Protection.

NHS Test and Trace will form part of the new institute and it will be headed up by its executive chair Baroness Dido Harding.