31,000 Contacts Were Identified by the COVID Contact Tracing System’s First Week


A couple of weeks ago, right at the very start of the manual contract tracing system’s life, there was a data breach of sorts. A breach that said only 4,634 contacts had been identified. That wasn’t a very good look, even if the system had only been running for a few days. Well things may be looking up for the system and those championing it, because the official figures show 31,000 contacts were identified within the first week of operation.

8,000 people tested positive for coronavirus during the week between the 28th May and 3rd June and two thirds of them gave details of their close contacts – giving us this 31,000 figure. The figures claim that 85 per cent of them were contacted and asked to self-isolate. Apparently 15 per cent, or 4,809 people, couldn’t be contacted because they either didn’t respond or the details that were handed over to contact tracers were wrong.

Baroness Harding, who runs NHS Test and Trace in England, said that the system is working well, and that there has been “good numbers of compliance” regarding the 26,985 contacts that have been asked to self-isolate. Matt Hancock is asking people to comply again, but noted that while enforcement of self-isolation is not being ruled out there’s no need to do that right now.

It’s about time there was some good news regarding this whole thing, since it’s been a complete shit show for quite some time. This is assuming nobody is trying to inflate the figures to make themselves look good – though I can’t see our government being competent enough to get away with that, even if they try.

We can probably expect these figures to rise, though the general effectiveness of a manual system is now down to how the people who’ve potentially been exposed to the virus respond. With all the scams popping up you can’t blame the people who assume official contact tracers aren’t who they say they are, and then you have the people who don’t want to hand over their information for other reasons (reasonable), or are genuinely unreachable.

The next few weeks are going to be interesting for sure. But at least the manual system is doing something now, even if security is sketchy and it won’t be fully-operational until September. [BBC News]

Photo by Julian Wan on Unsplash


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