COVID-19 ‘test and trace’ service launches in England

People identified as having been in close contact with someone who has a positive test must stay at home for 14 days.

Matt Bodell
29 May 2020
Nurse wearing headset

The service will help identify, contain, and control coronavirus by reducing the spread of the virus.

The new NHS Test and Trace service launched across England yesterday.

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The service has been designed to help identify, contain, and control coronavirus by reducing the spread of the virus.

Anyone who tests positive for coronavirus will be contacted by NHS Test and Trace and will need to share information about their recent interactions. This could include household members, people with whom they have been in direct contact, or within 2 metres for more than 15 minutes.

People identified as having been in close contact with someone who has a positive test must stay at home for 14 days, even if they do not have symptoms, to stop unknowingly spreading the virus.

If those in isolation develop symptoms, they can book a test at nhs.uk/coronavirus or by calling 119. If they test positive, they must continue to stay at home for 7 days or until their symptoms have passed. If they test negative, they must complete the 14-day isolation period.

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Critical point.

Members of their household will not have to stay at home unless the person identified becomes symptomatic, at which point they must also self-isolate for 14 days to avoid unknowingly spreading the virus.

Professor John Newton, National Coordinator of Test and Trace, said: “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.

“To control the virus we still need to continue with social distancing and good hygiene, but we also now have a comprehensive test and trace service to stop new cases spreading.

“This approach will allow us to gradually return to more normal personal, social and economic lives while recognising that we have to stay alert and respond rapidly to any advice from the new service.”

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The introduction of the service has not gone without issue with clinical track and trace staff claiming they are unable to login to systems.

The highly controversial NHS Test and Trace has also been postponed.

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