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'Awful' test and trace sparks fury as threat of local coronavirus 'flare ups' intensifies

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Outrage over the Government’s coronavirus test and trace system has emerged after the latest numbers were released. Health Secretary Matt Hancock claimed that the taskforce had reaches 85 percent of contacts, but reported numbers show the total number of people they’re dealing with still seems to be a small fraction of the actual likely cases, Sir Chris Ham, a specialist in health policy and a former chief executive of the healthcare think tank, The King’s Fund warned Channel 4 News that this could have a knock-on effect on local outbreaks.

He said: “What we need to do is recognise that as we move into the next phase of combating COVID-19, we’re likely to see local flare-ups.

“These are local outbreaks rather than a national set out challenges for health and social care.

“That’s why the local element led by our councils and public health teams is so important.

“They understand their communities, they need the data about the number of cases in their area, whether they’re increasing or decreasing.”

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The expert added: “They can then intervene in say a school or a care home or a hospital.

“They can use that local knowledge to help contain and hopefully eliminate those local outbreaks.”

The independent SAGE group has said that the test and trace system isn’t hitting 75 percent of cases.

Sir Chris agreed that was a correct assessment “as far as we know”, and added that the system was therefore “way off” where it needs to be.

Sir Chris continued: “When the lockdown was introduced, they should have started immediately and involved local government.

“They didn’t do that, only late in the day did they recognise the contributions councils could make.

“In fact, only yesterday did they allocate the extra funding that’s been committed to councils to enable them to do the work.

“So I think we need to be realistic about the claims that are being made.

“We need to recognise there’s going to be some time before there’s a fully effective system working for us.”



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