More councils develop own track & trace as government system not fit for purpose

More areas hit hard by Covid-19 are developing their own track and trace systems amid growing claims the Government’s one is flawed.

Three councils in West Yorkshire plan to introduce their own way of tracking down infected residents and their contacts.

Traders say it may be the only chance of saving their business.

The Government’s system is “not fit for purpose”, according to Greater Manchester mayor Andy Burnham.

The councils in Calderdale, Kirklees and Bradford are now planning to implement their own track and trace systems.

Calderdale council leader Cllr Tim Swift, whose region has the sixth highest infection rate in England, said they hope theirs will be “up and running very soon”.

Bradford council said bosses are in talks with the Government, while Kirklees council is in “the very early stages”.

Bradford is planning its own track and trace system

It follows concerns about the speed and effectiveness of the £10billion national system after a report this week revealed only half of contacts are being traced.

Kirsty Ferridge, 50, who owns The Albion pub in Bradford, said she would have to shut down the boozer for good if she is forced to close again due to another full lockdown.

The Government announced last week the city was among the places to have to go into partial lockdown.

Greater Manchester, Blackburn with Darwen, Burnley, Hyndburn, Pendle, Rossendale, Calderdale and Kirklees were the others.

Aberdeen was put on lockdown in the latest move to tackle rising infection rates

Local authorities in eight of the worst-hit areas in England have now launched or are planning to launch their own track and trace schemes.

Blackburn and Darwen council’s public health boss said the national one was “simply not tracing enough cases and contacts fast enough”.

The local systems will include tracers knocking on doors as well as phoning people.

Special envoy to the World Health Organisation, Dr David Nabarro, said it was “absolutely” the right move to have more locally run track and trace systems.

It comes as Preston in Lancashire was warned it is “days away” from lockdown after its infection rate more than doubled in a week.

It now has the 10th highest rate in the country. The Government claims it is contacting 81% of Covid-positive people each week and reaching 75% of their contacts.

Local Government minister Simon Clarke said the NHS Test and Trace programme “is delivering” but that “there’s always more to do”.

County kept itself safe by ‘home made’ test & trace

Ceredigion was the first council in the UK to implement its own contact-tracing – and was one of the last areas to be affected by Covid-19

The “home-made” system, designed by corporate director Barry Rees, was launched in May – and helped turn Ceredigion into the safest county in mainland Britain, with the lowest infection rate.

Seven people have died there since the virus hit the UK. And the council has traced people with symptoms before they had even tested positive.

Greater Manchester, which covers five of the 10 worst-hit places in England, launched its test and trace system later the same month.

Data revealed its system had successfully tracked 99 % of Covid cases in Oldham and Rochdale while the Government’s system failed to contact the majority of cases.

A DHSC Spokesperson told the Mirror:

“NHS Test and Trace is working, with over 2.6 million people tested and more than 218,000 people prevented from unknowingly spreading the virus. Every day local authorities receive test, case and contact tracing data, with further data being shared with local Directors of Public Health, to support with their outbreak management responsibilities.

“Our priority is to curb the spread of this virus and save lives. Local action to tackle outbreaks is crucial, which is why we are working so closely with all local authorities to provide additional support where needed.”


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