News, Policy & Media


Test and Trace reaches over one million people over New Year

NHS Test and Trace reached more than one million people over the New Year week, advising them to self-isolate due to either a positive test result or close contact with an infected person. These are record levels for the service as they endeavour to get in contact with positive cases and trace those who were in recent close contact with them to isolate the virus and prevent further transmission within the community.

During the first week of 2021, NHS Test and Trace reaching 92.7% of contacts, and 86.6% of those who tested positive. These figures mark a 48% increase in comparison with the previous week’s contact ability. This means more than 331,000 people more were contacted than the last week in 2020. Government has also moved to improve the support provided to those instructed to self-isolate who are dependent on a low salary. £500 payments will be given to people who are told to self-isolate but are on a low income, cannot work from home and risk losing earnings, making it easier for people to adhere to self-isolation requirements.

Calls have been made to further broaden the accessibility of the Support Scheme, with more groups of people eligible to receive the funding. NHS Test and Trace’s test site network now includes more than 800 test sites in operation, including 432 local test sites. The median distance now travelled for a test is around 2.4 miles, compared to some 5.1 miles back as recently as September.

Lord Bethell of Romford, DHSC’s Innovation Minister commented: “NHS Test and Trace is delivering an essential and impressive service. It is truly extraordinary that a service that was only established last spring could now have contacted more than one million people in a single week, telling them to self-isolate and protect those around them.”


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