Coronavirus: Test, track and trace system ‘will be in place by June 1’ says Boris Johnson

The government’s test, track and trace system will be in place by June 1, Boris Johnson has said.

Government scientists said yesterday that reopening schools was reliant on such a system being in place, following reports the scheme was delayed.

Asked by opposition leader Sir Keir Starmer if the system would be in place by June 1, Johnson said: “We have a growing confidence that we will have a test, track and trace operation that will be world-beating, and yes, it will be in place, it will be in place by June 1.”

The government’s deputy chief scientific adviser Dame Angela McLean revealed yesterday that government scientists “have been clear in our advice that changes to lockdown as we modelled them need a highly effective track, trace and isolate system to be in place”.

Therese Coffey, the work and pensions secretary, told BBC Breakfast yesterday morning that the government’s contact tracing app, currently on trial on the Isle of Wight, would be ready for rollout in the “coming weeks”. But she claimed she was “not aware that’s been set as a condition that’s necessary for the phased reopening of primary schools”.

During PMQs, Starmer asked for assurances about the system given that “there now appears to be some doubt as to when this is actually going to be ready”.

But Johnson insisted it would, adding that there would be “25,000 trackers, they will be able to cope with 10,000 new cases a day”.

“That’s very important, because currently new cases are running at about 2,500 a day. They’ll be able to trace the contacts of those cases and to stop the disease spreading.”

Unions have also demanded a national track and trace system needs to be in place before schools reopen.

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  1. Will the system be “highly effective” as Professor Dame Angela McLean specified it needed to be in order for modelling to be carried out? You’ll forgive me if I have difficulties believing this government considering their track record and their persistent refusal to make public the scientific evidence and modelling surrounding the wider reopening of schools.

    • Another news provider answered my question. The answer is ‘no’:
      “The UK PM’s spokesman has confirmed that a test-and-trace system will be in place by 1 June but suggested the contact-tracing app would be rolled out later.

      Yesterday the health minister, Lord Bethell, told the Lords, “We’ll begin with the tracing, not the app.”

      A Downing Street spokesman agreed. He said the app was “only one part of the system… We have a tried and tested system which was used in the early stages” of the Covid-19 outbreak. This system relies on human contact tracers and the government expects 25,000 of them to start work by 1 June.”

  2. Sandie Gray

    I am 65 female with Cancer and underlying health issues. I live in a house with 3 other people’ one who is housebound due to MS and 2 young adults 1 who is working from home.
    As I am High risk and on shielding lock down How can I get tested for Covid-19, I was very ill in December and still have many flu like symptoms that just will not go away.