New Covid-19 test-and-trace strategy to begin today

Henrietta Brewer
May 28, 2020

We must all follow the NHS test and trace instructions because this is how we control the virus and protect the NHS and save lives.

Starting tomorrow, the United Kingdom government will roll out its test and trace scheme in England.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock has said, "We will have local lockdowns in the future where there are flare ups and we have a system that we are putting in place with a combination of Public Health England and the new Joint Bio-Security make sure of there is a local flare up we have a local lockdown".

During the briefing, he announced a further expansion of coronavirus testing, with under-five-year-old now eligible, which means that everyone in Britain who is symptomatic - no matter their age - is now eligible for a COVID-19 test.

"It will be getting steadily better to become a truly world-beating test and trace operation in the course of the next days as we go through June", he added.

Baroness Dido Harding, executive chairwoman of NHS Test and Trace, said: "NHS test and trace is created to enable the vast majority of us to be able to get on with our lives in a much more normal way, but it requires all of us to do our civic duty".

On Wednesday morning, Housing Minister Robert Jenrick explained: "If the system works as we hope, it will be on quite a micro level as you say".

"This is a national effort and we all have a role", he added.

The team then emails or texts those close contacts, telling them they must stay home for 14 days even if they have no symptoms, to avoid unknowingly spreading the virus.

"Yesterday 2013 people tested positive and the next step is that through contact tracing, like detectives, the NHS clinician from NHS test and trace and the person who tested positive work together to identify the possible movements of the virus, where it has been, who else might have been infected".

Household members do not need to isolate at this point.

"Other countries implemented this early and have kept doing it since the start of the pandemic but the United Kingdom abandoned it at an early stage and is now playing catch up", said Linda Bauld, public health professor at Edinburgh University.

"We didn't have a test operation ready to go on the scale that we needed", he said.

Belfast has already rolled out a tracing scheme, Edinburgh has announced its version will begin Thursday while local leaders in Cardiff are due to unveil their service early next month.

As part of NHS Test and Trace, testing facilities may be rapidly deployed to particular locations if there is an outbreak.

Those contacts will be told that, if they develop symptoms, they should book a test at or by calling 119. The scheme will launch in England from Thursday and is the start of replacing the national lockdown with "individual isolation".

Other reports by iNewsToday