Under 60% of English COVID contacts reached in new record low for trace scheme

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

A record low 59.6% of contacts of positive COVID cases were reached in the latest week, statistics for England’s Test and Trace scheme showed on Thursday, with turnaround times for people receiving their results also getting slower.

British government scientists have warned that the test and trace scheme is relatively ineffective as the coronavirus spreads ever more quickly, and Prime Minister Boris Johnson is tackling a growing second wave with a localised approach.

Recent weeks have seen increases in the number of contacts of positive COVID-19 cases identified, with 251,613 identified in the latest week, up 15% on the previous week.

But the proportion being contacted is well below an 80% target for contacts traced.

Between Oct. 8 and Oct. 14, 33.4% of in-person test results were received the day after the test was taken, compared with 67.9% the week before.

The test and trace scheme showed that there had been a 12% increase in positive cases in the latest week. There were 96,521 people transferred to the system, of which 80.7% were reached and asked to provide information about their contacts.

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