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Covid-19: NHS England should manage test and trace system, says Independent SAGE

BMJ 2020; 371 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.m4330 (Published 09 November 2020) Cite this as: BMJ 2020;371:m4330

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  1. Shaun Griffin
  1. London, UK

The Independent Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Independent SAGE) has renewed its call for urgent reform of the government’s covid-19 test and trace system,1 urging that it be replaced by a system overseen by the NHS to avoid future lockdowns.

Independent SAGE showed that 1 217 214 contacts have been reached by England’s NHS Test and Trace service since May at an approximate cost of £10 000 (€11 000; $13 000) per head so far, based on the government’s commitment to spend £12bn on a tracking system. Contact tracing in the national service is provided by the private companies Serco and Sitel.

Latest figures show that the number of contacts traced has remained stagnant at around 60%. However, Kit Yates of the University of Bath concluded after analysing government data that only 14% of those who provided contacts have been reached and advised to quarantine. …

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