Thousands of people not contacted by £12bn Test and Trace system

It has been revealed that a quarter of a million people were not contacted by the Test and Trace system when they came close to someone who tested positive with coronavirus.

New figures have shows that 245,481 people in England over four months were failed to be contacted by private firms Serco and Sitel.

The Government has defended the system after Labour claim that it is “on the verge of collapse” and Downing Street says it has told 900,000 people to self-isolate.

The Chronicle reports that 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.

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“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.”

A Covid-19 test centre

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

“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.

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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”.

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