Question to the Department of Health and Social Care:
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to reports that over 20 per cent of those traced by the NHS COVID-19 test, track and trace system could not be reached, what plans they have to adjust the system to take into account the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies' advice that the threshold for effectiveness per index case is 80 per cent.
The Government launched its NHS Test and Trace service on 28 May 2020 to control the rate of reproduction (R), reduce the spread of the virus and save lives.
The contact tracing process starts as soon as NHS Test and Trace receive notification that someone has tested positive for COVID-19. The NHS Test and Trace service contacts people by text message, email or phone, including sending reminder messages and calls. We are reaching the close contacts of thousands of positive cases, where their contact details are known by the positive index case, and we are encouraged by the progress so far and user feedback.
Data published on 9 July shows that since 28 May, 75.7% (23,796) of people who tested positive (and had their case transferred to NHS Test and Trace) were reached and asked to provide contact details of recent, close contacts. Of the contacts identified through NHS Test and Trace, 85.1% (144,501) were reached and advised to self-isolate. Work is ongoing to understand, evaluate and continuously improve the test and trace programme and its effectiveness.