28th May 2020
The new NHS Test and Trace service has been launched to help identify, contain and control coronavirus, reduce the spread of the virus and save lives.
Anyone who tests positive for coronavirus will be contacted by NHS Test and Trace and will need to share detailed information about their recent interactions.
This could include household members, people with whom they have been in direct contact, or within 2 metres for more than 15 minutes.
People identified as having been in close contact with someone who has a positive test must stay at home for 14 days, even if they do not have symptoms, to stop unknowingly spreading the virus.
If those in isolation develop symptoms, they can book a test at nhs.uk/coronavirus or by calling 119. If they test positive, they must continue to stay at home for 7 days or until their symptoms have passed. If they test negative, they must complete the 14-day isolation period.
Members of their household will not have to stay at home unless the person identified becomes symptomatic, at which point they must also self-isolate for 14 days to avoid spreading the virus.
The NHS Test and Trace service, including 25,000 dedicated contact tracing staff working with Public Health England, will have the capacity to trace the contacts of 10,000 people who test positive for coronavirus per day and can be scaled up if needed.
It’s estimated that the UK will soon have the capacity to carry out 200,000 tests a day which includes 50 drive-through sites, more than 100 mobile testing units and 3 mega laboratories.
People who are contacted by the NHS Test and Trace service will be given clear information explaining what they must do and how they can access local support if needed.
Guidance is also available online at gov.uk/coronavirus. People having to self-isolate will be eligible for statutory sick pay if they are unable to work from home.
Anyone with a new, continuous cough, a high temperature or a change in their sense of smell or taste is asked to immediately report these symptoms and book a test at nhs.uk/coronavirus.
An App, which will form a part of the NHS Test and Trace service, is due to be launched in the coming weeks once contact tracing is up and running.
The App will significantly extend the speed and reach of contact tracing, by helping to identify those who you may not know, such as someone sitting next to you on public transport and it will also give powerful insights into the spread of the virus and how to contain it.