NHS Test and Trace

£37 billion Test and Trace Scheme May Have Prevented Just 6% of Covid Cases

NHS Test and Trace, which has cost the taxpayer £38 billion, may have only prevented 6% of Covid infections, according to a new official report. MailOnline has more.

No 10’s Test and Trace system has had barely any impact on thwarting the spread of Covid, according to official estimates.

The controversial £37 billion scheme has been heavily criticised over the past year for being ineffective at breaking the chains of transmission.

New Government modelling found the programme – which critics have described as being the biggest ever waste of taxpayer money – may have only slashed cases by as little as six%.

It also estimates that people isolating prevented 1.2 million to two million secondary cases, with NHS Test and Trace responsible for stopping 300,000 to 500,000 of these.

The estimate assumed people with Covid symptoms and their households would still have isolated if testing wasn’t on offer.

But health chiefs noted that without the offer of testing, millions more people would have needlessly self-isolated when they weren’t infected because they wouldn’t have been able to prove they were negative through a swab.

Test and Trace identified around 900,000 positive cases in August, according to official figures.

It comes as Boris Johnson will today warn that the pandemic is “far from over” as he unveils his “winter plan”, admitting that another lockdown cannot be completely ruled out.

A report published by NHS Test and Trace looked at what impact it had over and above if people with symptoms still isolated without any access to testing.

It did this by analysing the transmission reduction from testing, tracing and isolating from the current scheme.

This was then compared to an imagined scenario where testing was not on offer and households were told to self-isolate if someone developed Covid symptoms.

A panel including ‘Professor Lockdown’ Neil Ferguson, an epidemiologist at Imperial College London, helped with the modelling.

The study, which looked at the period from last August to April, found the Test and Trace scheme reduced transmission between 10 and 28%.

But if people stayed at home when they suspected they had the virus anyway, like they are supposed to, the testing system only reduced transmission from six to 19%.

Worth reading in full.

Double Jabbed No Longer Need to Self-Isolate if ‘Pinged’, Even Though Vaccines Don’t Stop You Getting Infected

From today, those who’ve had two Covid vaccinations no longer need to self-isolate if they get ‘pinged’ or are contacted by NHS Test and Trace notifying them they’ve come into contact with someone who’s tested positive. The BBC has more.

People in England and Northern Ireland who have had two Covid vaccine doses will no longer have to isolate if they come into contact with someone who has tested positive for the virus.

Instead of having to quarantine for 10 days, they are now advised to take a PCR test – but this is not compulsory.

They are also advised to wear a face covering in enclosed spaces and to limit contact with others, especially the clinically vulnerable.

The guidance applies to under-18s too.

The changes to self-isolation rules have already been implemented in Scotland and Wales.

The relaxed rules in England and Northern Ireland are expected to significantly reduce the number of people being compelled to stay at home.

At its peak in July, the number of self-isolation alerts sent in England and Wales in a week was just under 700,000.

This is welcome news, obviously, but, like so much of the Government’s decision making about the coronavirus crisis, it’s completely illogical. After all, people who’ve been double jabbed are not significantly less likely to catch COVID-19 or infect others than the unvaccinated. This rule change, which was announced last month, seems to have been made before the evidence about just how ineffective the vaccines are when it comes to protecting people from infection had been digested by the Government. Or maybe the Government had digested it, but decided to press ahead with the relaxation of self-isolation rules anyway because of the havoc the ‘pingdemic’ was wreaking.

Can we now abandon the stupid contact-tracing rules for the unvaccinated, too?