Ministers have been told to drop the ‘track’ in test, track and trace after focus groups showed that the concept scared people, it has emerged.

The ‘tracking’ portion refers to the NHS mobile app that can detect if someone has been in close contact with a Covid-positive individual, which is still going ahead. 

The Government is now believed to be discussing a new ‘test, trace and isolate’ phrase, as wording for the strategy becomes increasingly more confusing for the public.

Ministers are being told to drop the 'track' in test, track and trace after focus groups showed that the concept scared people, as Boris Johnson attempts to start a test and trace system before June 1

Ministers are being told to drop the 'track' in test, track and trace after focus groups showed that the concept scared people, as Boris Johnson attempts to start a test and trace system before June 1

Ministers are being told to drop the ‘track’ in test, track and trace after focus groups showed that the concept scared people, as Boris Johnson attempts to start a test and trace system before June 1

The Welsh government have opted for a ‘Test, Trace, Protect’ strategy, with ‘protect’ referring to people with the virus self-isolating to prevent a spread to the rest of the population.

And the Scottish government have gone one step further with their ‘test, trace, isolate, support’ strategy, with support including help with food and medicine as well as financial support.

At Prime Minister’s Questions on Wednesday, Labour leader Keir Starmer challenged Boris Johnson over the government’s failure to track the spread of the disease after mid-March.

‘That’s nearly 10 weeks in a critical period without effective tracing. That’s a huge hole in our defences, isn’t it prime minister?’ he said. 

The 'tracking' portion refers to the NHS mobile app that can detect if someone has been in close contact with a Covid-positive individual, which is still going ahead

The 'tracking' portion refers to the NHS mobile app that can detect if someone has been in close contact with a Covid-positive individual, which is still going ahead

The ‘tracking’ portion refers to the NHS mobile app that can detect if someone has been in close contact with a Covid-positive individual, which is still going ahead

Coming under pressure for details, Mr Johnson claimed that the UK would have a ‘world-beating’ test, track and trace system in place by June 1. 

The scheme would include 25,000 contact tracers who should be able to track 10,000 new cases a day.

But during the cabinet meeting on Thursday, the Prime Minster suggested that while the scheme would be ready, it would not be comprehensive, according to The Times.

‘He suggested it wouldn’t be all singing, all dancing but the system would be ready,’ a minister told the publication. ‘He was optimistic that we would be able to move into the next phase of easing the lockdown, but it was too early to make that decision.’

Mr Johnson will announce the next steps on Thursday.

Matt Hancock, the health secretary, urged people yesterday to ‘do their bit’ and go into self-isolation if they had had contact with someone with the virus, even if they had no symptoms. No 10 has not ruled out fining people who fail to go into isolation.

The Office for National Statistics showed that of all those who said they had self-isolated over the past seven days, only 28 per cent had not left their home. While the data was unclear, it set alarm bells ringing.

‘The difficulty doing the isolate approach is that the numbers of people who are self-isolating look appalling,’ one official said. ‘People who think they might be symptomatic still are not self-isolating.’

Ministers have set up a new unit — the Joint Biosecurity Centre — led by Tom Hurd, a senior counterterrorism officer. It is seen as an attempt by Downing Street to wrest control from Public Health England (PHE).

Source: | NHS

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