Thousands of England’s coronavirus sufferers’ recent contacts are failing to go into isolation after they were not reached by NHS Test and Trace.
Of Covid-19 patients who spoke to the “world-beating” system on July 23-29, 72.4% of their recent contacts were reached and told to self-isolate.
That figure has fallen two weeks in a row and is now at the second-lowest since NHS Test and Trace launched at the end of May.
Since Test and Trace launched, it reached 199,524 close contacts of people with Covid-19 and asked them to self-isolate for two weeks.
But a further 43,225 of their recent contacts over nine weeks were not reached by the system. That includes 5,284 in the most recent week.
“The overall percentage of contacts reached has been declining since Test and Trace began,” today’s government data report admitted.
However, officials said the fall was driven by a “reduction in contacts relating to local outbreaks”.
These are managed by local health protection teams “and have a higher success rate than those dealt with by contact tracers”, the document said.
A total of 47,762 people who tested positive for Covid-19 in England have had their cases transferred to the NHS Test and Trace contact tracing system since its launch, according to figures from the Department of Health and Social Care.
Of this total, 37,231 people (78.0%) were reached and asked to provide details of recent contacts, while 9,032 (18.9%) were not reached.
A further 1,499 people (3.1%) could not be reached because their communication details had not been provided.
The figures cover the period May 28 to July 29.
This breaking news story is being updated.