NHS Test and Trace is essential in our fight against Covid-19 and regular testing is a vital tool to stop transmission as we cautiously ease restrictions. I am extremely proud of the fact that, after building a testing system from scratch, we have carried out over 110m coronavirus tests and have increased PCR test capacity to 800,000 per day. This is more than any other comparable European country, with the UK having the largest testing capacity in Europe.
Protecting communities and saving lives is the Government's first priority and every pound spent on Test and Trace is contributing towards efforts to keep people safe. I firmly support the Government’s decision to spend £22 billion on this crucial service during 2020-21, with a further £15 billion budgeted for 2021-22. 80 per cent of NHS Test and Trace’s budget is spent on buying and carrying out coronavirus tests, with the remainder spent on contact tracing and other areas of the programme
It is also worth highlighting that while the NHS App is playing a key role, it is only one part of the wider NHS Test and Trace system. The NAO estimated that as of October 2020 the spend on the App was around £43 million.
The Government is now providing regular rapid testing for NHS and care home staff, thousands of businesses where employees cannot work from home, teachers and secondary school children and their parents. Regular rapid testing identifies new cases of the virus we would not otherwise find, preventing the spread of the disease and saving lives.
NHS Test and Trace is successfully reaching over 90 per cent of the contacts of positive cases - with 98 per cent being contacted within 24 hours, and the contact tracing service has already reached more than 9.1m cases and contacts, making a real impact in breaking chains of transmission.
Thank you again for taking the time to contact me.