Nick Ferrari challenges Health Minister who claims Test & Trace has had "a good start"

11 August 2020, 09:01

Nick Ferrari challenges Health Minister over Test & Trace changes

By Adrian Sherling

When Health Minister Ed Argar insisted the government is evolving the Test & Trace system after a "good start", Nick Ferrari challenged him on the claim.

Anyone who's been in contact with someone who has coronavirus could get a knock on their door if tracers haven't been able to reach them on the phone or by text.

Plans have been announced to strengthen regional test and trace powers in England. It follows criticism the system wasn't local enough.

Mr Argar told Nick Ferrari they are the latest stage in improving the system, saying: "What you've seen today is the evolution of the Test & Trace system.

"We've had it up and running for about 10 weeks. It's traced about a quarter of a million people and has just shy of an 80% success rate in contacting people who have tested positive.

"What we're seeing here is more an evolution than a radical change. It's more about reducing the number of people in the central team as we've learnt from local lockdown experiences and what works and what we need to meet the demand.

"But working ever-more-closely hand-in-hand with local authorities and public health officials.

"That's been there from the start, but we're strengthening that. We know it works, we've seen from the local lockdowns that it's been effective, so the system is evolving to meet the changing nature of the disease and the changing nature we have of how to tackle it."

Nick Ferrari challenges Health Minister Ed Argar over his claims about Test & Trace
Nick Ferrari challenges Health Minister Ed Argar over his claims about Test & Trace. Picture: LBC

But Nick asked him: "Is this evolution of which you speak not in any way down to partial failure?"

Mr Argar insisted: "No, we've got a better understanding of how the system works, we've got better understanding of how people react to those calls, so this is about further strengthening that system.

"Dido Harding who runs Test & Trace has been very clear since the outset that we've got off to a good start, but we'll always need to continue evolving it and that's what we're doing."

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