United Kingdom to tackle COVID-19 flare-ups with local measures - health minister

Henrietta Strickland
May 29, 2020

"Test and trace" will also look to replace the national lockdown with individual isolation for those who have been in contact with the virus, as well as local action to respond to another spike in coronavirus cases.

"We would also call for more detail on how the impact of the 14-day self-isolation requirement can be mitigated in the health and care workforce".

According to the new system, "anyone who tests positive for coronavirus will be contacted by NHS Test and Trace and will need to share information about their recent interactions".

The contact must have taken place between two days before and up to seven days after symptoms appeared. If you developed symptoms, you would be required to get a test.

"It is your civic duty, so you avoid unknowingly spreading the virus and you help to break the chain of transmission".

NHS test and trace will come into effect in England on May 28 in a bid to stop the spread of COVID-19.

Professor John Newton, National Coordinator of Test and Trace, added: "At this critical point in the nation's response to coronavirus we are launching a service that will enable us to emerge more safely from lockdown".

"Because some people, like children, very very rarely actually get symptoms but they still pass the disease on".

Labour's shadow health secretary Jonathan Ashworth said his party had "long called for a functional testing and tracing regime" as a key part of easing the nationwide lockdown - and claimed that the row over Dominic Cummings' trip to Durham during the curbs could dent confidence in it.

"This could include household members, people with whom they have been in direct contact, or within 2 metres for more than 15 minutes".

Baroness Dido Harding
Baroness Dido Harding

"It's worth it because that is the tool that other countries have used to unlock the prison, to make sure that we can go forward", he said.

Matt Hancock said that we must "trust everyone to do the right thing", and that while the test and trace programme is now voluntary, they can quickly make it mandatory "if that is what it takes".

Earlier, Prime Minister Boris Johnson suggested the new plan would not reach the "world-beating level" he promised by June 1, but would take a few weeks.

Asked to introduce the target by former health secretary Jeremy Hunt, the PM replied: "We have done that... yes, absolutely".

"I don't want to give you an exact deadline of when we will get down to 24 hours but that is plainly the ambition and we will do it as soon as we can".

Track and trace workers told LBC that they were unable to start work today with some systems crashing, and other workers saying they had not yet been sent the login details they need to start work.

He added that there was "still a long way to go to create the fit for objective regime we need".

Matt Hancock said that in order to protect our friends and family, test and trace must become a "new way of life".

Individuals with symptoms (or on behalf of someone with symptoms) can complete a self-referral form here. However, the entitlement has been extended under the Statutory Sick Pay (General) (Coronavirus Amendment) (No. 4) Regulations 2020. Those people will then be contacted and told to self-isolate for 14 days as a precautionary measure and will qualify for SSP, the government has confirmed.

As part of NHS Test and Trace, testing facilities may be rapidly deployed to particular locations if there is an outbreak.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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