Labour has launched a three-point plan to ensure that the new test, track and trace system works on a local level, as the government plan relies on the ability to contain local outbreaks.
It comes after Dido Harding, executive chair of NHS Test and Trace, confirmed to MPs that the local roll-out of the programme would not be “fully operational” until the end of June.
Ben Bradshaw was among the parliamentarians noting that this went against Boris Johnson’s promise to have a “world-beating” track and trace system in place by June 1st.
Labour’s plan for making the scheme work on a local level is as follows:
- Make sure councils have necessary powers to play their role in enforcing lockdowns in their area as needed to respond to local spikes in infections.
- Introduce a Covid Test Guarantee – a double-lock that no one will have to wait more than 24 hours to receive a test and then no more than 24 hours to receive the results.
- Deliver a working app that will enable councils to contact everyone at risk – with a cast-iron guarantee to the public about the security of their personal information.
Commenting on the proposals, Labour’s communities spokesperson Steve Reed said: “Test and Trace is the key to easing lockdown restrictions safely. But instead of the “world-beating” system the Prime Minister promised us by 1 June, the system is in total chaos because the government got the planning wrong.
“Yet again, the government has been too slow in tackling the virus. They were too slow with the lockdown, too slow on PPE distribution, too slow on testing, too slow to protect care homes and now they’ve been too slow to involve councils even though they had the expertise and knowledge ready to hunt down this virus street by street.
“The government must now follow Labour’s three-point plan if we are to end lockdown safely. If they get test and trace wrong, the country risks another catastrophic spike of infection that will lead to a second lockdown with all the untold damage that will mean for lives and livelihoods across Britain.”
Although Dominic Raab claimed to Andrew Marr that the system was “up and running” and “going since Thursday”, the Foreign Secretary could not say on Sunday how many people had been traced.
He also confirmed that the coronavirus alert level had not gone down to Level 3 and measures are being lifted, despite initial claims that the the alert system would determine the relaxation of restrictions.