Guide NHS Test and Trace

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1. Test and Trace information

The new NHS Test and Trace service has launched across England, the government announced.

The service will help identify, contain and control coronavirus, reduce the spread of the virus and save lives.

Anyone who tests positive for coronavirus will be contacted by NHS Test and Trace and will need to share information about their recent interactions. This could include: 

  • household members
  • people with whom they have been in direct contact, or within 2 metres for more than 15 minutes

People identified as having been in close contact with someone who has a positive test must stay at home for 14 days, even if they do not have symptoms, to stop unknowingly spreading the virus.

If those in isolation develop symptoms, they can book a test at nhs.uk/coronavirus or by calling 119. If they test positive, they must continue to stay at home for 7 days or until their symptoms have passed. If they test negative, they must complete the 14-day isolation period.

Members of their household will not have to stay at home unless the person identified becomes symptomatic, at which point they must also self-isolate for 14 days to avoid unknowingly spreading the virus.

What are the objectives and how will they be achieved?

Objectives: 

  • control the Covid-19 rate of reproduction (R)
  • reduce the spread of infection and save lives

In doing so, this will help to return life to as normal as possible for as many people as possible in a way that is

  • safe
  • protects our health and care systems
  • releases our economy

Achieving these objectives will require a co-ordinated effort from local and national government, the NHS, GPs, businesses and employers, voluntary organisations and other community partners, and the general public.

Local planning and response will be an essential part of the Test and Trace service, and local government has a central role to play in the identification and management of infection.

Local government, NHS and other relevant local organisations will be at the heart of the programme as we support upper tier local authorities to develop local outbreak control plans.

To that end, £300m in national government funding will be provided to local authorities in England to develop and action their plans to reduce the spread of the virus in their area.