NHS track and trace system ‘not fully operational until September

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Coronavirus UK updates: Blair calls for mass testing
Coronavirus UK updates: Blair calls for mass testing

The NHS test and trace system for Covid-19 is not expected to work to its full efficiency until at least September, an executive of the scheme reportedly told staff.

Tony Prestedge, the chief operating officer of the scheme, is reported to have admitted in a video message to staff that the system will not be working at full speed for months.

The apparent admission came after the prime minister, Boris Johnson, claimed the UK would have a “world-beating” test and trace system by the start of June.

“I am sure when Dido [Harding, the chief executive] announces this service later she will make clear that it is an imperfect service at launch that we will improve over time and make it world-class by the time that we are moving towards the September or October time,” Mr Prestedge said, according to The Guardian.

“We know it will be imperfect, we know it will be clunky but we ask you to help us improve the service.”

Although top scientists have warned lockdown measures should not be eased until an effective contact tracing system is in place, the UK government announced a loosening of restrictions and rolled out the system across England last week.

The NHS system aims to contact anyone who has been in close contact with those who have tested positive for Covid-19 and then asks them to self-isolate.

Caroline Lucas, the Green Party MP for Brighton Pavilion, said the reported comments were “truly shocking”.

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