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UK government launches NHS test and trace service

New service initiated as part of national recovery strategy and aims to test and trace every suspected case of coronavirus in the country

NHS

The UK government has unveiled a new NHS service which aims to test and trace every suspected case of coronavirus in the country, as part of its recovery strategy.

The new NHS test and trace service, which launches today, will test anyone with symptoms of the coronavirus, and will also trace their close contacts. This will be done by gathering information of all interactions from those who test positive for the coronavirus.

As a result of that information sharing, those who have been in contact with any individual who tests positive for the virus will be asked to isolate for 14 days, regardless of their symptom status.

If an individual who is self-isolating as a result of this new test and trace system develops symptoms, they will then be able to book a coronavirus test for themselves. If the result comes back positive, they must stay home for seven days or until their symptoms cease, and if the result is negative they must still complete the longer 14-day isolation.

Members of their households will still be able to leave the house unless they develop symptoms, when they must then also self-isolate for 14 days.

The government has hired 25,000 dedicated contact tracing staff who will work with Public Health England to trace the contacts of 10,000 people per day who test positive for COVID-19, with the ability to scale up if required.

Earlier this month, the government also launched an initial roll-out of a NHS COVID-19 contact tracing app on the Isle of Wight, which was downloaded over 52,000 times in the first week.

The new NHS test and trace service will also launch this app nationwide in the next few weeks when “contact tracing is up and running”.

The app uses the bluetooth capabilities on mobile smartphones to record everyone an individual comes into sustained contact with. Users can then declare on the app if they have become ill with symptoms of COVID-19, and in turn the app notifies everyone they have been in contact with to self-isolate.

The aim of adding the app to the wider NHS test and trace slice is to extend the speed and reach of contact tracing, as it will identify those individuals who may not be aware they have been in close contact with someone who has tested positive for the virus.

“As we move to the next stage of our fight against coronavirus, we will be able to replace national lockdowns with individual isolation and, if necessary, local action where there are outbreaks,” said Health Secretary Matt Hancock.

“NHS Test and Trace will be vital in stopping the spread of the virus. It is how we will be able to protect our friends and family from infection, and protect our NHS.This new system will help us keep this virus under control while carefully and safely lifting the lockdown nationally,” he added.

Article by
PMGroup

28th May 2020

From: Healthcare

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