One third of people with coronavirus could not be contacted by NHS Test and Trace

The Canary

One third of people who tested positive for coronavirus (Covid-19) either could not be reached by the NHS Test and Trace programme or failed to provide details of who they’ve had contact with, data shows. The results are based on the programme’s first week of operation

Some 8,117 people who tested positive in England had their case transferred to the NHS Test and Trace contact tracing system. Of these, 5,407 (67%) were reached, while 2,710 (33%) were not reached.


Baroness Harding, the head of the programme, admitted it was not yet at the “gold standard” but was now a “functioning service”. The figures, from the Department of Health and Social Care, cover the period 28 May to 3 June.

Overall, 31,794 ‘contacts’ were identified and, of these, 26,985 were reached and advised to self-isolate. The programme said the number of people reached includes those who provided details about recent contacts or whose cases have been investigated as part of an outbreak.

The number that were not reached includes those where contact details were unavailable or incorrect, or where there’s been no response to text, email, and call reminders. It also includes people who the service has been able to reach but who haven’t provided information about who they’ve been in contact with. This includes people whose cases are currently being managed as part of active outbreak investigations.

Contacts information

Of those people who were contacted and asked to provide information about who they’ve met with, just over three-quarters (79%) were contacted within 24 hours of their case being transferred to the Test and Trace system.

Some 14% were contacted between 24 and 48 hours, 3% between 48 and 72 hours, and 4% were contacted after 72 hours.

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