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Test and Trace Update Exposes Government’s ‘Ludicrous and Misleading Claims’

July 17, 2020 12:11 PM

Dean CroftsCouncillors have slammed the government's 'ludicrous and misleading claims' over its failed contact tracing app and test and trace system that it described as 'world-beating' when it was launched at the end of May.

The comments followed an update and discussion on the track and trace system locally at this week's Bedford Borough Council Health Overview and Scrutiny Committee. The test and trace system involves trained teams calling people who have tested positive for coronavirus and those with whom they have been in contact, and asking them to self-isolate.

Committee members heard that, despite the system commencing over a month ago, detailed data sharing with local partners including Bedford Borough Council has only recently started. Postcode-specific data had not been available to local agencies for several weeks following the system's launch. The ability to identify and deliver targeted interventions to tackle local outbreaks depends on timely and detailed demographic coronavirus testing data.

Bedford Borough Liberal Democrat Health Spokesperson Cllr Dean Crofts said: "Listening to local professionals at the sharp end of this system is a reminder that they've been let down badly by a government obsessed with spin and self-promotion. Far from the government's ludicrous and misleading claims to have set up a 'world-beating' track and trace system from June 1st, it took weeks for proper data-sharing to begin despite that being critical to any targeted local action.'

"Meanwhile, the elephant in the room was the government's failed app, which is missing entirely from the system after the government wasted three months and millions of pounds on it."

After the government's failed attempt to develop a UK-specific contract tracing app which it had promised would be launched by mid-May, it has announced that an app based on technology developed by Apple and Google is expected to be introduced to support the test and trace system in the winter.