UK coronavirus live: test and trace figures due as Preston could be latest to face lockdown measures

Town faces government intervention after a rise in coronavirus rates; 50m masks for NHS workers deemed unusable; contact tracing figures expected amid concern over programme

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Soames also defended the fact that the average contact tracer has contacted 2.4 people each.

Let me tell you, we’ve got 10 Nightingale hospitals lying vacant, we’ve got 30,000 ventilators that are not being used. The government has to start somewhere with capacity and the fact is that we’ve got too much capacity, or more capacity than we need right here, right now, today.

But, naturally, the government has taken a decision to over-provide to begin with on the basis that we can always reduce it.

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The boss of outsourcing giant Serco has defended the number of people being contacted and asked to isolate as part of the test and trace system, saying it is “improving all the time”. Rupert Soames, Serco’s chief executive, told Today:

I think we need to get this into proportion. You’re giving me the numbers saying that we’re tracing 50% of contacts, let me tell you that 96% of the people that we talk to agree to self-isolate. So we’ve got a very, very high success rate of people that we get to contact.

If somebody rang you now and I said tell me everybody that you have met, been in contact with, in the last 48 hours and tell me on the telephone, give me their contact details, how many do you think that you’d be able to reel off of the top of your head?

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And the fact is that about 20% of the contacts that people give us, say I know I sat next so somebody on a bus on the way in but I don’t have their contact details. I’m sorry, but my brother-in-law brought around a friend last night, I don’t have their contact details. So there is an element of that and it is about 20% at the moment where people can’t remember or never knew the contact… the details of where they were.

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