Alex Norris has slammed the government after an error with the test and trace system meant that people who should have been self-isolating were not notified and called the mistake the “latest in a long line of disasters”.
Responding to reports today that over 15,000 cases were not passed to contact tracers, the shadow health minister has suggested that those who were not informed of testing positive may have passed the virus onto “many other people”.
In an interview with BBC News this afternoon, Norris told viewers: “It is exceptionally concerning. We need an effective test and trace system if we’re going to defeat this virus.
“We haven’t had one for months and months and this is just the latest in a long line of disasters really. So the government need to show they’re going to get this better and get this right.”
He added: “Frankly it doesn’t matter why it happened it matters that it happened. We’ve been basing decisions in the last week or so with increasing restrictions based on information that has not been complete.
“Similarly, thousands and thousands of people who have been in close contact with someone we know for fact had coronavirus have been wandering around when they should have been self-isolating through no fault of their own potentially passing that on to many other people.
“Whatever the reason, whether its excel, CSV or XLS files, frankly won’t wash. It is a failure yet again of government of a vital test and trace programme that has failed across the summer.”
"Thousands & thousands of people… have been wandering around when they should have been self-isolating"
— BBC Politics (@BBCPolitics) October 5, 2020
Over 15,000 coronavirus cases went unpublished in the government’s daily reports and were not passed onto contact tracers last week as a result of what officials called a “computing issue”.
The backlog of infections, which was left out of Public Health England’s daily figures between September 25th and October 2nd, was caused after an excel spreadsheet failed to add new cases.
The glitch led to a staggering 22,961 new cases being published on Sunday after 12,872 were previously announced on Saturday. Various scientists have warned that these delays could impair efforts to monitor the spread of Covid.