England's test and trace performance continues to slump

Coronavirus testing centre, © PA Wire/PA Images
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By Jane Kirby, Health Editor and Ian Jones, PA

The performance of the NHS Test and Trace system in the UK continues to slide, with just one in seven people having a test at a centre getting their result back in 24 hours.

The new weekly data from the programme shows 15.1 per cent of people who were tested for Covid-19 in England in the week ending October 14th at a regional site, local site or mobile testing unit – a so-called in-person test – received their result within 24 hours.

This is down from 32.8 per cent in the previous week and is the lowest weekly percentage since Test and Trace began.

The figures also show a drop to 59.6 per cent in the proportion of close contacts of people who tested positive who were reached.

This is the lowest weekly percentage since Test and Trace began and is down from 63 per cent in the previous week.

(PA Graphics)

For cases handled by local health protection teams, 94.8 per cent of contacts were reached and asked to self-isolate in the week to October 14th.


But for cases handled either online or by call centres, this figure was 57.6 per cent.

The data also shows the positivity rate – the proportion of all tests returning a positive result – has climbed to 7.1 per cent for the week, the highest since Test and Trace began.

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According to criteria published by the World Health Organisation, a positivity rate of less than 5 per cent is one indicator that the epidemic is under control in a country.

A total of 101,494 people tested positive for Covid-19 in England at least once in the week to October 14th – a rise of 12 per cent in positive cases on the previous week.

The latest data shows that of 96,521 people transferred to the system, 80.7 per cent were reached and asked to provide details of recent close contacts.

This is up slightly on 79.9 per cent in the previous week.

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