Boris Johnson Hails UK COVID-19 Test and Trace System Despite Misses
UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Thursday described the National Health Service (NHS)´s coronavirus test and trace system as world-beating, in spite that recently released data showed that one out of five positive cases have not been reached.
“If you look at what we are doing, actually I think it certainly does fit that description of ‘world beating’,” Johnson told reporters during a tour of a new housing state in the English town of Warrington.
According to the prime minister, the UK “now testing more, per head of population, than virtually any other country in Europe.”
Johnson´s comments came a few hours after the Department of Health and Social Care released its latest data on the test and contact tracing system rolled out by the government at the end of May.
National figures show that only 79 percent of the 4,642 people who tested positive for coronavirus on the week ending on July 29 (week 9) and had their cases transferred to the contact tracing system were reached and asked to provide information about their contacts.
Of the 19,150 contacts they identified as close contacts, only 72,4 could be reached and advised to isolate, a decrease from 76.2 percent in the previous week, the report added.
The official data also show that since the system was launched in England on May 28, of the 242,749 close contacts of people who tested positive for the coronavirus identified, 199,524 (82.2 percent) were reached and asked to self-isolate, while the other 43,225 (17.8%) were identified but not reached.
A study published in The Lancet Child and Adolescent Health on Monday by researchers from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and the University College London warned the second wave of coronavirus could be more than twice the size of the first if no effective testing and contact tracing system is in place before schools reopening in September.