Test and trace gets off to a reassuring start

By Simon Gentry, Newgate Public Affairs

The Secretary of State for Health, Matt Hancock MP, led the government’s press conference from Downing Street this afternoon, alongside Baroness Dido Harding, the ‘Test and Trace’ Czar.  The focus of today’s conference was, unsurprisingly, the progress of the COVID test and trace system.

Before he discussed the test and trace system, he said that 1,266 new cases of COVID infection have been confirmed, continuing the decline of the last few weeks.  Only 462 new hospital admissions have been made in the last 24 hours and 151 new deaths were reported yesterday.

Turning to the test and trace system, Dido Harding disclosed that 31,794 close contacts of people newly diagnosed were identified during the first week of the test and trace operation in England.  8,117 people were contacted and two-thirds agreed to provide details of their close contacts. 85% of those were reached in 24 hours and asked to self-isolate for 14 days.  She said there is plenty of capacity for testing and people must take advantage of the opportunity to protect themselves, family and friends.

In closing, Matt Hancock urged people not to attend demonstrations, regardless of the cause and no matter how passionately people feel about the issues. The virus thrived on social gatherings and they need to be avoided.