Responding to the latest NHS test and trace figures for England, Dr Layla McCay, director at the NHS Confederation, said: “It’s positive to see there has been some improvement in the percentage of people identified as close contacts being reached and asked to self-isolate, as well as growing testing capacity.
“However, we must acknowledge the fact that we are not seeing the dramatic improvement in the test and trace system that will be needed to be sure the NHS and public safety are properly protected. This is especially concerning as the data from the REACT-2 study shows as many as 3.4 million people had antibodies for the virus in England between June and July. These findings suggest that the people who receive a positive COVID-19 test may be the tip of an iceberg.
“We now need to see the promised increase in the involvement of local health protection teams, who have a higher success rate than national-based contact tracers. Every contact matters if we are to curb the spread of the virus in the general population and protect the NHS from a potentially disastrous second spike of infections, especially with the prospect of an extremely difficult winter looming and as lockdown continues to be eased, raising the potential for transmission.”