Coronavirus test results ‘take so long it’s rendered NHS Test & Trace pointless’


FEWER than one in ten Brits given home Covid checks get their results within a day, official stats reveal.

Six in ten must still wait more than 48 hours to see if they are positive for the bug – rendering tracing ineffective.

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The government said people need to continue to play their part in the fight against the coronavirus

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The government said people need to continue to play their part in the fight against the coronavirus

Nearly half of all testing on Tuesday involved DIY kits being sent to people’s residence.

Experts claim for test and trace to work well, results need to be turned around within 24 hours.

But the latest data shows just 9 per cent of people got their home test back in a day – and 41 per cent got their findings within 48 hours in the week to June 24.

Figures from NHS Test and Trace shows for drive-ins, 72 per cent of people got their results in a day.

 

 

And for mobile testing units it was 61 per cent.

Boris Johnson promised that all tests – apart from home kits – would fit this time frame by the end of June.

The Prime Minister’s official spokesman said: “We have now reached more than 130,000 people who may otherwise unknowingly have spread the virus.

“But we have always said that we will continue making improvements as we go along so that we do reach more people, more quickly.”

The system is leaky due to the difficulty of following contacts

Dr Daniel LawsonUniversity of Bristol

The spokesperson claimed that the government was “working hard” to reach people, but added that they needed the public to “play their part” in providing information to the Track and Trace programme.

Further figures showed that 27,125 people who tested positive for Covid-19 had their case transferred to the NHS Test and Trace contact tracing system during the first four weeks of its operation.

From this around 74 per cent of people were reached.

They were then asked to provide details of who they had recently been in contact with.

The Prime Minister announced the test and trace plan back in May

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The Prime Minister announced the test and trace plan back in May Credit: Crown Copyright

Despite this nearly a quarter (23 per cent) could not be reached even though they had provided their details.

Three per cent were unable to be reached as their contact details had not been provided.

During the first four weeks of Test and Trace, 132,525 people who had been identified as recent close contacts of people who had tested positive for Covid-19 were reached through the tracing system and asked to self-isolate.

This was 86% out of a total of 153,442 identified contacts.

The remaining 20,917 people (14 per cent) were identified as close contacts, but were not reached.

Some of these people could not be reached because no communication details had been provided for them.

Executive chairwoman of NHS Test and Trace, Dido Harding, said: “We have seen significant improvements in the time it takes to process test results, an important step to rapidly reach the contacts of those testing positive and ask them to self-isolate to prevent them spreading the virus further.”

Experts have claimed that the system is “leaky”.

Dr Daniel Lawson, Lecturer in Statistical Science, University of Bristol said:
“The system is leaky due to the difficulty of following contacts. For the most recent data, 75 per cent of people were reached to provide close contact details, and in non-complex about two thirds of contacts are ultimately reached. 

“There are complex cases too. Therefore perhaps 40-50% of close contacts of people testing positive are actually asked, and we don’t know the proportion of infected people who never take a test.”

He also added that more appropriate reporting is needed as well as automatic tracing through apps.

NHS Test and Trace fails to reach QUARTER of Covid-positive Brits’ contacts

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