Question to the Department of Health and Social Care:
To ask Her Majesty's Government what is the minimum turnaround time for the NHS test and trace results to be processed; and what assessment they have made of whether that time is fast enough to isolate outbreaks before further people become infected.
The Government launched its new NHS Test and Trace service on 28 May 2020. Anyone with symptoms of COVID-19 is eligible for a free test and should book one as soon as their symptoms start. The contact tracing process starts as soon as NHS Test and Trace receive notification that someone has tested positive for COVID-19. People identified as having been in close contact with someone who has had a positive test will be contacted and told to stay at home for 14 days, even if they do not have symptoms, to minimise the risk that they unknowingly spread the virus.
The majority of tests at Regional Testing Centres and Mobile Testing Units are returned within 24 hours, with 90% returned within 48 hours. Other than postal tests and other insuperable problems, all tests will be turned around within 24 hours by the end of June.
We are tracing the contacts of thousands of positive cases, using both online services and over the phone, and we are encouraged by the progress so far. In total, since 28 May to 10 June 2020, 72.6% (10,192) of the people who tested positive for COVID-19 were reached by our contact tracers and asked to share details of their close contacts. 90.6% (87,639) of close contacts were reached and advised to self-isolate.