UK wants mass contact tracing for EVERYONE with coronavirus ‘in weeks’ – which could help lift lockdown

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BRITAIN is aiming to set up mass contact tracing for EVERYONE with coronavirus within weeks – which could help lift lockdown.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock said today that ministers want to ramp up measures again to be able to track everyone who has got the virus in future.

Matt Hancock said today that track and trace systems could lift some social distancing measures

Mass contact tracing was in place during the early stages of the virus spreading in the UK, but was abandoned after the numbers became too great to track.

It involved staff getting in contact with every person the infected Brit had come into contact with, so they could make sure they isolate and get medical help if needed.

Mr Hancock said today in the House of Commons: “Our goal is to get to the point where we can test rack and trace everybody who needs it.”

And he added: “What we also need is mass contract tracing as we bring the rate of transmission down and the rate of  testing up.

“So that everybody who tests positive, we can contact all the people they have been in contact with, make sure they get access to support and they know what to do.

“That way we can control this virus with fewer of the very extraordinary social distancing measures that have been in place.”

Britain’s lockdown has been in place for four weeks, with another two to come at least.

But he said that any mass tracing wasn’t tied to decisions on whether to continue with lockdown rules.

Ministers by law have to review them every three weeks.

Mr Hancock also revealed today:

  • Britain is currently “at the peak” at the moment
  • 15 care workers have sadly  died from Covid-19
  • Parts of the NHS which closed to deal with the virus will soon reopen as the number of cases drops
  • Anyone who gets seriously ill – such as having a suspected heart attack or stroke – must go to hospital to get critical help

Ex-health secretary Jeremy Hunt asked whether mass tracing could come into play in the next two weeks – leading to a partial lifting of the lockdown within the next fortnight.

Mr Hancock replied: “We are ramping up testing capacity and contact tracing.
“In a matter of weeks we will have it ready to make sure that we can use that as and when the incidents of transmission comes down.”

 

An NHS app is also in beta testing, which will ask users to track who they have been in contact with, to help locate the spread of new cases.

But it will only be possible to use tracing if the number of cases falls to a manageable level.

Downing Street has confirmed it is recruiting an army of tracers to try and get staff in place as testing ramps up.

Meanwhile, Mr Hancock warned Brits that if they are ill, they MUST go to hospital to get much-needed care.

“We want to reopen the NHS to people with non coronavirus symptoms and patients with non corona conditions safely and carefully, as soon as its able to do so.

“They should come forward.

“If you think you might have a lump that might be a cancer, you should come forward now you will be safely and carefully treated in the NHS.”

Surgeries and other treatments might be able to restart in the coming weeks, he said.

“As we reach the peak of the virus means we can now start to reopen the NHS,” Mr Hancock said.

“Part of that is encouraging people to seek NHS treatment when they need it.”

And the Health Secretary revealed today for the first time that 15 care home workers have died in the fight against the virus.

Dominic Raab had just hours earlier refused to answer how many had sadly passed away thanks to Covid.