The easing of the lockdown and a safe return to school for hundreds of children and their teachers is dependent on an effective test, track and trace programme. Over the past few weeks deadlines for the system have slipped from mid-May to 1 June, then suddenly Matt Hancock announces its launch at 9am today (28 May) and exhorted every person to do their “civil duty” and stay at home when instructed.
Questions have been raised about the suddenness of the launch and the reasons for pulling it forward, but Matt Hancock in an interview with Kay Burley on Sky News, denied that the government has rushed in the system to take the spotlight off Dominic Cummings and his failure to follow lockdown rules.
The track and trace system involves 25,000 contact tracers phoning people who test positive for the virus and being asked for the names and phone numbers of family, friends and colleagues whom they have been within 2 metres of for more than 15 minutes within the previous two days. The tracer will then phone these people and tell them to self-isolate for 14 days and remove children from school.
Full story in The Lowdown, 28 May 2020