The NHS Test and Trace system has reached the lowest ever proportion of contacts of people who tested positive for coronavirus (Covid-19) in England.
Four in 10 close contacts of people who tested positive are still not being reached by the system, at the same time as it recorded its highest weekly number of positive cases.
A total of 137,180 people tested positive for Covid-19 in England at least once in the week to 28 October – an increase of 8% on the previous week and the highest weekly number since Test and Trace was launched at the end of May.
According to the latest figures, 59.9% of close contacts of people who tested positive in England were reached through the system in the week ending October 28.
This is the lowest since Test and Trace began and is down from 60.6% for the previous week.
For cases managed by local health protection teams, 97.9% of contacts were reached and asked to self-isolate in the week to 28 October.
For cases managed online or by call centres, the figure was 58.5%.
Just 26.4% of people who were tested in England in the week ending 28 October at a regional site, local site or mobile testing unit – a so-called “in-person” test – received their result within 24 hours.
This is up from 22.6% in the previous week.
Prime minister Boris Johnson had pledged that, by the end of June, the results of all in-person tests would be back within 24 hours.
He told the House of Commons on 3 June that he would get “all tests turned around within 24 hours by the end of June, except for difficulties with postal tests or insuperable problems like that”.
Despite such appalling figures and a failing system, Serco, the private company running Test and Trace is profiting. The Guardian reported that:
Shares in Serco surged by 18% on Friday [16 October] after it said it expected to make an underlying profit for the year of between £160m and £165m.
And as We Own It tweeted, “it’s time to put local public health teams in charge”:
The test, track and trace system is still in total chaos as we go into a second lockdown.
It’s time for the government to face reality. It’s time to put local public health teams in charge.https://t.co/zr8LrsMIAC
— We Own It (@We_OwnIt) November 5, 2020