NHS Test and Trace records worst weekly performance

NHS Test and Trace has recorded its worst ever week for contact tracing, according to new figures.

Data shows 62.6% of close contacts of people who tested positive for Covid-19 in England were reached through the system in the week ending October 7.

This is the lowest weekly percentage since Test and Trace began, and is down from 69.5% the previous week.

For cases handled by local health protection teams, 97.7% of contacts were reached and asked to self-isolate in the week to October 7.

For those handled either online or by call centres, 57.6% of close contacts were reached and asked to self-isolate.

The data also shows 89,874 new people tested positive for Covid-19 in England in the week to October 7 – a 64% rise in positive cases on the previous seven days.

It is the highest weekly number since Test and Trace was launched at the end of May.

When it comes to turnaround times for test results, there has been a slight week-on-week improvement.

Some 32.6% of people who were tested for Covid-19 in England in the week ending October 7 at a regional site, local site or mobile testing unit – an in-person test – received their result within 24 hours.

This is up from 27.4% in the previous week.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson pledged earlier in the year that by the end of June, the results of all in-person tests would be back within 24 hours.

Of the 87,918 people transferred to the Test and Trace system in the week to October 7, 76.8% were reached and asked to provide details of recent close contacts.

This is up slightly on 74.9% in the previous week.

Shadow health minister Justin Madders said: “It is absolutely staggering that week upon week, the performance of Test and Trace keeps getting worse and worse.

“Surely ministers must see that the system is falling apart and what was supposed to be world beating is in fact now one of the biggest obstacles to us getting on top of the virus?

“The need for a circuit-break is absolutely critical now and that time should be used to fix Test and Trace once and for all.”

This week’s figures include around 2% of the almost 16,000 cases that were previously unreported following technical errors at Public Health England.