The UK is at risk of a having significant surges of coronavirus cases if the NHS Test and Trace programme is not up to scratch, according to the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) Covid envoy.
Dr David Nabarro said today that if “testing and tracing and isolation just is not done properly” then it would lead to “very bad surges occurring and this will lead to economic challenges”.
A new study from University College London and the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, out today, also said the UK’s test and trace programme was not effective enough.
The study said that the government had four weeks to improve it to prevent a second coronavirus wave.
The NHS Test and Trace programme is reaching just 50 per cent of contacts, according to the study, which was 30 per cent lower than needed.
Nabarro told the BBC today that the best way to avoid a second UK spike was an improved test and trace regime.
He said: “This virus is capable of surging back really quickly and is actually doing so in most countries where there’s been success at getting it under control and, as it surges back, the way you stop outbreaks developing is through having well-functioning contact tracing linked to testing, with isolation of people who’ve got symptoms or who’ve been in contact.
“If we can do that, and do it well, then the surges are kept really small, they’re dealt with quickly and life can go on.
“If, on the other hand, this testing and tracing and isolation just is not done properly, then you get very bad surges occurring and this will lead to economic challenges.”