When those who tested positive were contacted, they referred more than 31,794 contacts to the NHS Test and Trace team, of which 26,985 (85%) were contacted and asked to self-isolate.
Baroness Dido Harding, head of the test and traceability program, admitted on June 11 that it was not yet “standard of reference” but said that it was now an “operational service” . 85% of the total contacts identified in the first week have agreed to isolate themselves, she said.
Hancock added that Test and Trace is the government’s “radar” to see how the virus spreads and that people who test positive must work with NHS Test and Trace to “break the chain of transmission”.
“I would go so far as to say that participating in the NHS Test and Trace is your civic duty,” he said.
The system still has unused capacity, but it will improve and soon be world class, he said.
The NHS contact tracking application, currently being tested on the Isle of Wight, will also be part of the new testing and tracing strategy in the coming weeks.
But Baroness Harding said she was unable to give a date for the rollout of the app nationwide.
Hancock said the app would be used when the time came, but he wanted to make sure the Track and Trace system worked with humans before introducing a technological element (the app).
But what is the new strategy and how will it work?
1. Self-isolate and test
Anyone with symptoms, including a persistent cough or temperature, should isolate themselves for at least seven days.
Anyone else in your household should isolate yourself for 14 days from the time you started experiencing symptoms, as studies have shown that people can be asymptomatic for up to two weeks.
Hancock said it was “your civic duty” to isolate and follow the rules of the test and trace strategy.
“It will be voluntary at first because we trust everyone to do the right thing, but we will make it mandatory if that’s what it takes,” added Hancock.
“If we don’t collectively do this work, the only way to move forward is to keep the lock on. The more people who follow the instructions, the safer we can be and the quicker we can lift the lock. ”
If you experience symptoms, you should request a test as soon as possible via nhs.uk/coronavirus or by calling 119.
Testing capacity will be increased, said the secretary of health, after the launch of the online portal allowing key workers to order tests in April saw 5,000 tests booked in two minutes.
Hancock previously targeted 100,000 tests per day in the UK, but this capacity will be increased to 200,000 per day.
The increase in test capacity includes 50 drive-through locations and 100 mobile test units, the government has announced.
Tests will also now be available for children under the age of five, to help reopen schools in England from June 1.
A former director of the World Health Organization has also requested that general practitioners be recruited to help run the NHS test and follow-up system, with test centers in local surgeries.