Contact tracing

'Localise Test and Trace' call by Leicester health boss

PA Media

Leicester's director of public health has called for the current coronavirus Test and Trace system to be more localised after branding the centralised set-up "ludicrous".

Recent NHS figures suggest local health protection teams have achieved a significantly higher success rate in reaching close contacts of confirmed Covid-19 cases than in cases dealt with by call centres or online.

Addressing a Royal Society of Medicine webinar, Ivan Browne said local health teams in Leicester would speak to multiple members of a household in one go, whereas this was not the case with the central system.

He said: "The way the central system was set up was [to take] everyone as an individual, which is ludicrous really."

Ivan Browne

Mr Browne also expressed concerns about the government's approach to bringing the country out of lockdown.

He said: "I have huge issues with things like Eat Out To Help Out... when I'm walking up my road and seeing people queuing up, it's a concern.

"We've got to get a clear narrative of where we are, being in control and being cautious, and make sure we are not giving this virus the opportunity to pass on, because it will."

A government spokesperson responded: "NHS Test and Trace is completely free, it's working and, hand-in-hand with local partners, is reaching 83.4% of contacts, which is in line with international standards.

"This is a team effort and we are supporting local authorities where there are outbreaks with additional testing and dedicated contact tracers as we did in Leicester.

"The hospitality sector has been amongst the worst affected by the lockdown and Eat Out to Help Out is helping consumers safely support the sector."