What is NHS Test and Trace strategy and how does it work? – The Sun
THE UK Government is hoping that businesses can continue to utilise the NHS test and Trace App as the country approaches Freedom Day.
The system, which was initially launched on May 28, 2020, has been vital for the safe reopening of businesses – but has recently come in for criticism after people were "pinged through walls."
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What is the test, track and trace strategy?
The test, track and trace strategy has been one of the key measures in helping businesses reopen safely through the pandemic as the nationwide vaccine rollout has gathered pace.
The NHS Test and Trace Service initially launched with a team of 25,000 contact tracers on May 28 and has since been downloaded by an estimated 5 million people.
Anyone who has come into contact with someone who has tested positive for the deadly bug will be told to self-isolate.
Even with the easing of almost all restrictions on July 19, it is hoped that the test, track and trace system will reduce the spread of the virus by identifying and containing the bug.
According to Government figures for July 1- July 7, 194,005 people tested positive for coronavirus (COVID-19) at least once in England, a 43% increase compared to the previous week.
It is the highest weekly number of people testing positive since the week ending 27 January 2021.
Furthermore, 5,473,208 people were tested at least once between 1 July and 7 July 2021 for COVID-19, a 5% increase from the previous week.
The upward surge in cases raises concerns that the July 19 reopening could further increase the pressure on the NHS and even threaten another lockdown.
Currently, there are two main NHS coronavirus tests available to the public:
- PCR tests – mainly for people with symptoms, that are sent to a lab to be checked
- Rapid lateral flow tests – only for people who do not have symptoms, they give a quick result using a device similar to a pregnancy tests.
Both tests are free and can be ordered from the NHS website.
To initially understand how coronavirus would spread through the population, 20,000 households were recruited and routinely tested over 12 months.
An estimate total of, 300,000 participants were involved in the study.
"High accuracy" antibody tests were also used to understand how immunity could work in those recovering from the disease.
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The NHS's digital research division developed the smartphone app which will is now widely used to alert people that they have been exposed to someone with coronavirus.
The app works by using Bluetooth to log when another user’s smartphone has been in close proximity.
It works out the proximity of your phone and theirs based on the signal strength and makes an anonymous record of the contact.
If a person develops Covid-19 symptoms, they can report their symptoms to the app and immediately organise a test.
If the other person then reports, through the app, a positive test result, it will notify you as well as anybody else with whom the person has been in recent contact.
However, the app's tracing system has come under fire as a so-called Covid “pingdemic” hit pubs, factories, hospitals and airports with needless staff isolations in July 2021.
The NHS Test & Trace app ordered a record 520,194 to stay home in just a week, a 46 per cent rise on the previous seven days.
It meant a staggering two million Brits were thought to be stuck at home as testing labs were swamped and vital PCR tests were unavailable in some areas.
Former Prime Minister Tony Blair issued a warning that a taste of normality for Brits will only fuel Britain’s third wave.
He added: “I understand why everyone wants these restrictions to end but … you’ve just got to look at the data and it’s pretty clear this is not over.”
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