Coronavirus NHS test and trace programme shows increasing number of cases in UK
As predicted by healthcare experts, the second wave of infections has risen over the past few weeks. While relaxed travel restrictions might be partly to blame for the increase, others point out another likely reason. With the British government stepping up the testing in COVID-19 hot spots, officials were already expecting higher numbers. Overall, the results show a staggering 17 percent surge of positive cases. This confirms what many have been speculated for a while now.
The Office for National Statistics recorded a jump from an estimated 3,200 to 4,200 daily cases before July ended. A total of 10,500 contact tracers have been employed by Serco to help the healthcare system. Rupert Soames, the CEO of the labour hire firm, claims that up to five percent “may be untraceable,” as reported by the Independent.
Nevertheless, U.K. prime minister Boris Johnson highlighted the improved efforts to address the pandemic. “I think I’m right in saying that we are now testing more – per head of population – than virtually any other country in Europe, certainly, in America they are testing a huge number of people,” he stated. The most recent reports show that among the 4,642 listed by the system, around 79 percent were contacted by personnel.
About 19,150 individuals from the aforementioned group purportedly were in close contact with a positive case. Out of these clusters, only 72 percent required isolation, which is a notable drop from the previous week’s data. Findings likewise show that teams who were actually in the field had more success than those who reached out remotely via phone or online.
“Test and Trace is working. It has already helped to prevent almost a quarter of a million people unknowingly spreading the virus. But we do not work alone,” said NHS Test and Trace executive chair Baroness Dido Harding. “Close partnerships with local government and local public health teams are essential to stop the spread of the virus, and NHS Test and Trace continues to work hand-in-hand to support communities experiencing spikes in cases, through increased testing and additional contact tracing.”
Contact tracing and other preventive measures continue to be the best course of action until a medical breakthrough becomes available. On that front, several coronavirus candidates have already presented promising results. Meanwhile, researchers are still trying to develop a treatment to aid those diagnosed with COVID-19.