The government is “optimistic”, people will download a phone application to track the spread of the coronavirus, but conceded that the task of running the contact tracing system remains “significant”.
Communities Secretary Robert Jenrick said he thought the “vast majority” of people would download the app and “play their part” – although he insisted it was just a part of the plan to stop the spread.
Contact tracing will be at the heart of the Government’s efforts to slow the spread of the coronavirus and will involve alerting people who have come into contact with an infected person and asking them to isolate themselves.
It has been widely used in South Korea, Hong Kong and Germany, where outbreaks have been brought under control more quickly.
The government plans to use an app and a phone team to track it.
Jenrick said at the daily Downing Street press conference: “Finding contacts will depend on our common role in society, but I am optimistic about the outlook.
“So far this is a national effort – if you think about the different measures we have proposed, the restrictions, the vast majority of people have supported it and I think they will start again when we are in able to launch the application nationwide. ”
Dr. Jenny Harries, Assistant Chief Medical Officer of Health, said contact tracing “is operational and effective” is “another important task but (there is) a lot of preparation going on”.
She said, “We need the whole population to work with us on this, it’s an exciting adventure.
“It’s a bit like social distancing, everyone has to do it together to make it work …
“We have to test it and we will do it very soon. “
The number of people who died in hospitals, nursing homes and the wider community after a positive test for the coronavirus in the UK at 5 p.m. Friday rose to 28,131, up from 621.
The death toll has come close to that of Italy, which now stands at 28,710 and is the highest in Europe, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.
And the number of daily tests completed and sent in the past 24 hours has dropped to 105,937.
Among these, the number of people tested also fell to 63,667.
This comes after questions were asked about how tests are counted after Health Secretary Matt Hancock said on Friday that he had reached his goal of 100,000 Covid-19 tests per day.
Dr. Harries said that a breakdown of the more than 4,800 new cases exists but was unable to say what proportion were frontline workers or people caught in the community.
“We are looking at this and there are a number of nosocomial subgroups, so the infection is spreading in healthcare facilities and nursing homes, where we absolutely focus on that because we are looking for opportunities to interrupt the transmission and make sure that people are kept safe. ”
Dr. Harries also said:
– People will need to carefully consider how they get into outdoor spaces as the lockout restrictions are relaxed – and should preferably avoid a pub visit along the way.
– Managers “do not yet have enough information” to know if people can get coronavirus more than once, and the signs of immunity can vary from patient to patient.
– There are “some signs” that younger children are potentially less likely to transmit Covid-19, although the quality of the evidence is “difficult”.
Jenrick announced a £ 76 million support program for “the most vulnerable in society”, including victims of domestic violence and coarse sleepers.
He said more than 5,400 raw sleepers known to the boards have been offered safe accommodation in the past month, and announced that Dame Louise Casey will lead a new task force to tackle the problem.