Government under fire over scale of test and trace programme

The government’s plan to launch a ‘test, track and trace’ programme to stop the future spread of coronavirus is under fire after scientists said it will require up to five times as many staff as currently envisaged.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock announced yesterday that some 18,000 staff will be put in place as part of the mass-testing scheme.

But health experts today pointed to the staffing levels of similar schemes already in operation in countries like China, Germany and South Korea and suggested situs Judi Slot Online Terpercaya 2022 mudah menang the UK will actually need as many as 100,000 tracing staff.

The successful implementation of ‘test, track and trace’ is viewed as key to easing the current state of lockdown and to preventing a second peak.

The aim of the programme will be to identify people who have the disease and then figure out within 24 hours at least 80 per cent of the people they have recently come into contact with.

All those identified will then also be tested and told to self-isolate in order to keep infection levels as low as possible.

The government is aiming to get to 100,000 daily coronavirus tests by the end of the month. 

Mr Hancock yesterday announced all key workers will now be eligible for a test but a new online booking system got off to a disastrous start today after it closed just hours after opening.

Matt Hancock, pictured in Downing Street today, is under pressure to expand his ‘test, track and trace’ programme amid fears his proposal for 18,000 staff situs slot gacor terbaru will not be enough

The 18,000 people Mr Hancock has said will staff the ‘test, track and trace’ programme will include 3,000 health professionals who will be tasked with stopping outbreaks in critical settings like hospitals.

But some scientists believe the remaining 15,000 contact Daftar Nama Situs Judi Slot Online Terpercaya tracers tasked with testing society as a whole will not be enough.

Professor Azeem Majeed, head of public health at Imperial College London, told The Telegraph: ‘We need to use this lockdown to recruit large numbers of contact tracers, so we have a large scale programme in place as soon as possible.

‘If you look at Wuhan in China, they recruited 9,000 contact tracers for 11 million people. 

‘We need to look at large volumes of contact tracers, not just a few hundred or a few thousand. We need tens of thousands, maybe even 100,000 to do contact tracing.’





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Mr Hancock today said it was not quite the case that mass testing and contact tracing needed to be in place before current lockdown restrictions can be eased.

But he said contact tracing is most effective when the number of infections has been pushed right down.

‘The truth is that we need to get the number of new down, right down, and the lower you go, the more effective contact tracing is because the more resources you can put into each individual case that gets a positive test,’ he said.

‘You can really make sure you can get hold of all of their contacts and get them, in many cases, to self-isolate.

‘The smaller the number of new cases, the more the test, track and trace system will be.’

Mr Hancock said the ‘test, track and trace’ scheme, which will also include a smart phone app which logs who people come into contact with, will be functioning in a ‘matter of weeks’.

A website had launched this morning to allow key workers to book a coronavirus test. 

It offered two options, allowing key workers to book one of just 1,000 home testing kits or to apply for a slot at a drive-through centre.

But applications shut at 10am as the website said people could no longer register.  

The Department of Health and Social Care had expected home kits to run out by 10.30am, with Whitehall sources saying the rush today confirmed the high demand.