The Test and Trace program is now managed by the UK Health Security Agency, launched in April, led by Dame Jenny Harries, the former deputy chief medical officer.
Last night Jonathan Ashworth, the shadow health secretary, said: “Test and Trace was supposed to be ‘beating the world’ to save us from repeated blockages. Instead, we saw big cat salaries for bosses, random contact tracing, and strain on testing.
“It’s taxpayers’ money and at a time when the NHS is in trouble and staff want a fair wage deal, ministers need to explain why they signed these exceptional paychecks. “
The latest figures show that 597,260 people were ordered to self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace during the week ending July 21, the highest figure since January, with 678,102 people “reported” by the ‘application.
A growing number of people who test positive for Covid are refusing to release details of close contacts. The most recent figures show that nearly a quarter of those who tested positive would not provide details of recent close contacts.
A spokesperson for the Ministry of Health and Social Affairs said: “This year more than ever, the ministry needed to attract, recruit and retain highly qualified people, both permanently and temporarily, to meet the unprecedented demands created by Covid-19.
“We have drawn on the highest level of expertise to deal with this global public health crisis. This has resulted in the largest diagnostic network in UK history thanks to an NHS test and traceability system that can identify and reduce rates of transmission – protecting people’s health, saving lives and helping stop the spread of the virus. ”