Technical glitch hinders race to trace Covid-19 contacts

Technical glitch hinders race to trace Covid-19 contacts

Technical glitch hinders race to trace Covid-19 contacts

A technical glitch that meant nearly 16,000 cases of coronavirus went unreported has delayed efforts to trace contacts of people who tested positive.

Public Health England last night admitted 15,841 cases were left out of daily reported figures between September 25 and October 2.

They were then added in to reach Saturday’s figure of 12,872 new cases and Sunday’s 22,961 figure.

PHE said all those who tested positive had been informed. But it means others in close contact with them were not.

The government has admitted today it is unaware of how many potentially infectious contacts of coronavirus patients were not traced.

“I’m afraid I just don’t have that information,” Thérèse Coffey, the work and pensions secretary, told BBC1’s Breakfast programme.

Coffey said the issue had been fixed. “It’s important to stress that people who have the tests get their results. I’m conscious that PHE had this glitch, but they identified it. So it is being rectified, and so we can get those contacts potentially into the system and contacted, as decided by the test and trace regime.”

Labour has described the glitch as “shambolic”.

Meanwhile, the head of the government’s vaccine taskforce, Kate Bingham, has told the Financial Times that less than half of the UK population could be vaccinated against coronavirus.

The head of the immunisation programme told the newspaper: “People keep talking about ‘time to vaccinate the whole population’ but that is misguided.

“There is going to be no vaccination of people under 18.

“It’s an adult-only vaccine for people over 50, focusing on health workers and care home workers and the vulnerable.”

Elsewhere, Tim Spector, professor of genetic epidemiology at King’s College London, said the effects of long Covid could turn out to be a bigger public health problem than excess deaths.

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