Responding to the latest test and trace figures, Dr Layla McCay, director of policy at the NHS Confederation, said: “Overall, these figures show that the number of people testing positive was down another 9 per cent week-on-week, which is reassuring. This demonstrates the ongoing impact of social distancing and the vaccination programme.
“The continuing success rate of reaching the close contacts of people who test positive for COVID-19 and asking them to self-isolate is also good news, with nearly 90 per cent reached. SAGE has said 80 per cent must be reached for the programme to succeed.
“However, it’s important to bear in mind that asking people to self-isolate is only the first step. The real key to the success of the programme is making sure those asked to isolate are able to do so. Testing and tracing on its own will never succeed if people who are infected do not – or cannot – isolate and break the chain of transmission. The Government must quickly build on the commitment it made in December last year to better understand the barriers people face and introduce more measures to help.”