A local authority in London is among the areas in England where Test and Trace is proving least effective, new data reveals.
Three-quarters of close contacts of people who tested positive for Covid-19 were reached through the NHS Test and Trace system , once again falling short of the Government’s target, the latest figures show.
Some 75.5 per cent of close contacts in England were reached in the week ending August 19.
While this is up from 71.6 per cent in the previous week, it is the ninth week in a row where the Government’s Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage) target of isolating 80 per cent of contacts of coronavirus cases within 48 to 72 hours has been missed.
In Hackney and City of London, which have been combined by Public Health England for the purposes of counting, just 48 per cent of contacts were reached for Test and Trace cases, the joint fourth worst in the country, alongside Blackburn with Darwen.
The lowest rate in the country was Bradford with only 43 per cent of contacts reached.
For cases in both Middlesbrough and Peterborough, 47 per cent of contacts have been reached, while for Nottingham and Oldham it is 49 per cent.
These figures are just for “non-complex cases” – cases handled online or by call centres – and cover the 12 weeks of Test and Trace from May 28 to August 19.
Ahead of this week’s figures being published, Health Secretary Matt Hancock acknowledged the system was “not quite there”.
He told LBC radio on Thursday: “One of the challenges is we want to get NHS Test and Trace up to over 80 per cent of contacts, getting them to self-isolate – we’re at just over 75 per cent, so we’re nearly there but not quite there.”
The figures, published by the Department of Health and Social Care, show that 65,398 people who tested positive for Covid-19 in England have had their cases transferred to the NHS Test and Trace contact tracing system since its launch.
Of this total, 50,876 people (77.8 per cent) were reached and asked to provide details of recent contacts while 12,851 (19.7 per cent) were not reached.
A further 1,671 people (2.6 per cent) could not be reached because their communication details had not been provided, the figures covering the period May 28 to August 19, showed.
Local health protection teams continued to perform better in reaching contacts and asking them to self-isolate than cases handled online or by call centres.
For cases handled by local teams, 95.6 per cent of contacts were reached and asked to self-isolate in the week to August 19.
By contrast, for those cases handled either online or by call centres, 61.6 per cent of close contacts have been reached.
Since the launch of Test and Trace, 246,262 close contacts of people who have tested positive for Covid-19 have now been reached through the system and asked to self-isolate.
This is 80.6 per cent out of a total of 305,725 people identified as close contacts.
The remaining 59,463 people (19.4 per cent) were identified as close contacts, but were not reached.