Thank you for contacting me about contact tracking and tracing measures for coronavirus.
Mass testing and contact tracing are not, by themselves, solutions, but may allow some social restrictions to be relaxed faster by working to supress transition more precisely. The UK now has capacity to carry out over 300,000 tests per day.
The COVID-19 Test and Trace Taskforce programme will ensure that, when someone develops COVID-19-like symptoms, they can rapidly have a test to find out if they have the virus, and people who they’ve had recent close contact with can be alerted and provided with advice. Part of the tracing effort includes a voluntary NHS contact tracing app; this will help increase the speed and effectiveness of the tracing effort. Around 18,000 additional contact tracers are being deployed to support the programme, around 6,000 of whom will be supporting local test and trace teams.
The NHS Test and Trace app will be available across England and Wales from 24 September. This is a significant achievement, and I congratulate all who have been involved in this process. I would encourage you to download the app, if you have a smartphone, and to scan NHS Test and Trace QR codes which will be displayed in businesses and venues across the country, making it much easier for you to be notified in the event of an outbreak.
As part of an unprecedented response to this pandemic, the Department of Health and Social Care have drawn on the expertise and resources of a number of public and private sector partners, including Serco, to support our NHS and social care sector. I am confident that these providers will be held to the highest standards to ensure that the best service possible is delivered.
This programme is vital to the national effort to defeat coronavirus, and I will continue to monitor it closely. Thank you again for taking the time to contact me.