A home COVID-19 test

Indie Sage: ‘enhanced’ contact tracing in variant hotspots should be the norm across country

Group continues to push for ‘fully functional’ test, trace, isolate system.
27 May 2021 , Katie Coyne

Continuing failure to have a fully functional test and trace system is “amazing”, according to former chief scientific advisor Sir David King.

King made the comments in closing remarks at the latest Independent Sage group of scientists’ weekly live-stream briefing.

He said: “I have to always mention… the failure that is amazing us all in not setting up a fully functional find, test, trace, isolate and support system.

“We have a new disease in effect, spreading in the country – it's growing exponentially –[that] needs to be got on top of quickly. And that means surely separating people out from the rest of the community.”

Dr Kit Yates, an Independent Sage member from the University of Bath, called the introduction of ‘enhanced’ testing measures in areas with a high number of cases of the Indian variant of COVID-19 “strange”.

He said: “Enhanced contact tracing – so going ahead and tracing people both forwards and backwards and getting the contacts of people who are infected to test as well – in most countries that's just called contact tracing.

“That's what we should have been doing right from the start. That's what our find, test, trace, and isolate system should be doing all the time instead of making that ‘enhanced’…

“So it's strange to see only happening in these places where there's a problem and maybe that problem is already out of control.”

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