June 3, 2020 / 3:21 PM / a month ago

UK COVID-19 test and trace data to be published from next week

FILE PHOTO: Executive Chair of NHS Test and Trace, Baroness Dido Harding speaks during a daily news conference on the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, at 10 Downing Street in London, Britain May 27, 2020. Pippa Fowles/10 Downing Street/Handout via REUTERS

LONDON (Reuters) - The leader of Britain’s COVID-19 test and trace programme said she hoped data on the numbers of people tested and contacts traced within 24 hours would be available from next week once it had been validated.

“We need to make sure any data we share is accurate and validated,” Dido Harding told a committee of lawmakers on Wednesday. “I would very much hope that we will start to publish a weekly dashboard from next week.”

The programme, which is key to loosening blanket lockdown measures, went live last Thursday. A smartphone tracking app will be added in coming weeks, although the government has not specified when.

Harding said the vast majority of those traced so far were complying with the instruction to isolate.

“We are seeing a significant proportion of the people we contact - and we have contacted thousands of people in the first six days - very keen to follow the guidance,” she said.

But she was concerned that not enough people were ordering a COVID-19 test when they felt ill.

She said around 8,000 people were contracting the virus every day, but the number of positive tests on Tuesday for example was only about 1,600.

“We have excess testing capacity and excess tracing capacity, so the capacity in the system is not the issue,” she said.

Reporting by Paul Sandle; editing by Stephen Addison

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