Yesterday the Health Secretary announced how the new NHS Test and Trace system would go live today, earlier than previously anticipated.
From today, May 28, anyone who tests positive for coronavirus will be contacted by NHS Test and Trace and will need to share information about their recent interactions.
This could include household members, people with whom they have been in direct contact, or within 2 metres for more than 15 minutes.
Yesterday, May 27, during the daily Coronavirus briefing, Matt Hancock said that until an effective treatment or vaccine comes through, NHS test and trace is a big part of how the country can move forward out of lockdown, saying it needs to be a national effort.
He said: “Through testing we hunt down the virus – I use ‘we’ deliberately, we all have our part to play.”
People identified as having been in close contact with someone who has a positive test must stay at home for 14 days, even if they do not have symptoms, to stop unknowingly spreading the virus.
If those in isolation develop symptoms, they can book a test at nhs.uk/coronavirus or by calling 119. If they test positive, they must continue to stay at home for 7 days or until their symptoms have passed.
If they test negative, they must complete the 14-day isolation period.
Members of their household will not have to stay at home unless the person identified becomes symptomatic, at which point they must also self-isolate for 14 days.
The new service applies to England only, but Government will continue to work with Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland to make sure we have systems that are coordinated across the UK.
Mr Hancock said the government is ‘relying on’ and ‘trusting’ the public to self isolate when they are given the instruction to do so, but he added: “We can quickly make it mandatory if that’s what it takes… It’s your civic duty to follow the instructions.”
In the briefing he said the NHS now has the capacity to perform 161,000 tests a day and this means testing, from tomorrow, will extend to children under five.
The government has set the target for the Test and Trace app to launch on June 1, however there is currently no update on this.