Test and Trace didn't get much of a mention yesterday

(37 Posts)
StealthPolarBear Sun 01-Nov-20 07:50:12

Surely while we're doing our bit and staying home, the government needs to sort out a T&T system that's fit for purpose?

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StealthPolarBear Sun 01-Nov-20 08:05:52


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Mamamia456 Sun 01-Nov-20 08:08:11

He mentioned the new quick test that is being rolled out in the next few days.

BuffaloCauliflower Sun 01-Nov-20 08:09:19

You’re right, I hadn’t realised until now. If we’re locking down at least use the time to improve systems surely?

StealthPolarBear Sun 01-Nov-20 08:09:26

He did, but he didn't mention the trace aspects at all, or how the whole process will be improved so it can function.
I wonder if cases have risen to the levels where we're simply past that point

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midgebabe Sun 01-Nov-20 08:11:05

They need to improve the isolation bit as well
they realise it's failed and are too embarrassed to talk about it?

StealthPolarBear Sun 01-Nov-20 08:12:27

Like the JBC alert levels, remember them?
Like moonshot
Test and trace is surely key to getting this under any sort of control. They have an opportunity in the next month. They're going to squander it again aren't they

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user1471439240 Sun 01-Nov-20 08:16:38

Apparently track and trace only works when new cases are less than around 5000 per day. That, coupled with the fact that only 1 in 5 people are actually isolating when told, means it was doomed to failure.
It has been successful in Countries, particularly East Asian, because of compliance and culture. People in this Country cannot wear a mask, for reasons. We are running a media and political system of gotcha, hindsight and petty political point scoring against a virus that does not care.

Mamamia456 Sun 01-Nov-20 08:25:49

It's a test that can give a result in 15 minutes, and the army are being brought in to help local authorities etc with distribution. I agree though the only way to get the virus under control is to have a really effective test and trace system.

He also said that with the new test they could use it for whole towns and cities, but was vague with how it would be implemented.

Mamamia456 Sun 01-Nov-20 08:28:27

User - I agree that the test and trace system only works if people actually comply.

ZaZathecat Sun 01-Nov-20 08:41:02

I think we are way beyond being able to control the virus with test and trace, even if it was now fit for purpose - it's just too widespread.
I don't believe Johnson when he says we are close to having the very cheap and quick home test, because of his record of false promises, but I do believe it is the way forward. People could test before attending anything with large number of people involved. This could be compulsory - you don't get in if you can't show today's test result.

ZaZathecat Sun 01-Nov-20 08:41:58

think we are way beyond being able to control the virus with test and trace, even if it was now fit for purpose - it's just too widespread.
I don't believe Johnson when he says we are close to having the very cheap and quick home test, because of his record of false promises, but I do believe it is the way forward. People could test before attending anything with large number of people involved. This could be compulsory - you don't get in if you can't show today's test result.

Ylvamoon Sun 01-Nov-20 08:43:30

Track & Trace does not work because people are not complying. If people were as scared of this virus as MN suggest, then it would have worked.
While the general public and employers don't take Track and Trace seriously, there is no pressure for government to implement a better financial support system for those who are isolating.
The result is more restrictions and an other lockdown. We had it all coming!

StealthPolarBear Sun 01-Nov-20 08:44:17

Yes but if lockdown reduces the numbers ss it should we need a working T&T ready to go

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PurpleDaisies Sun 01-Nov-20 08:44:52

Of course he didn’t mention it. It’s a huge embarrassment because it’s been so poor. I’m sure they’ll be trying to improve it before the four weeks are up.

Alondra Sun 01-Nov-20 09:12:25

I live in NSW, Australia, a place many consider to have the gold standard for track and trace. One of the things that have been made clear in NSW is that track and trace is only effective if the local transmission number is low. Once the local transmission is out of control, T&T, won't be able to control it.

Testing is key, but frankly, being an island I've never understood why the UK didn't close borders like Australia or New Zealand did. Yes, I've heard about being "a hub" in business and all that crap, but it doesn't convince me. The UK could have imposed stricter border's controls, similar to Australia which are almost virus free locally.

We are functioning almost as normal - work, having friends at home, going for a coffee or a meal out. Local businesses are booming and even the tourism industry is recovering - we can't go overseas so we are holidaying local at home. And the local tourist industry is loving it.

Australia and New Zealand are going to open international borders to the world when there is a vaccine and herd community can be achieved. In the meantime we will have an international bubble between us and keep our economies tickling.

Australia's consumer confidence soared in October in a 2 year high and I truly believe we are going to emerge from this nightmare with no more than 7% unemployment due to the travel sector. My hairdresser told me her 16 year old son decided to leave school in year 10 to begin work and is earning $A1100 net a week lying pipe lines to the new airport in Sydney.

I think Europe, UK and USA missed the memo completely in this pandemic. Track and trace is not enough. Decisions controlling borders are essential to begin with.

thingsarelookingup Sun 01-Nov-20 09:23:53

I agree that the numbers are far far too high for track and trace. I think it probably needs to be under 2000 a day plus you need to broaden the testing criteria to any vaguely related symptom.

StealthPolarBear Sun 01-Nov-20 10:30:25

I agree numbers need to be low. Theyve put measures in place to reduce numbers. Presumably they think they'll be successful. If they are do they have a plan for what next or will they get to the end of it and realise to their surprise and amazement that T&T can't possibly cope?

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LangClegsInSpace Sun 01-Nov-20 11:57:12

I agree, it's worrying this was not mentioned. I am beyond disgusted that the time in the summer, when cases were low, was not used to sort this out properly.

Yes, cases are too high at the moment for T&T to be very effective (in most of the country - there are still areas where it could be effective now), but we should be building the system now, in readiness for when cases fall low enough in the spring. Otherwise we'll just be back here again, and again and again ...

It's not enough to just say the system won't work if people don't comply, although that is obvious. We need to work out exactly why people are not complying and remove those barriers.

There's not enough support for people who need to isolate. There's a one off payment for those on means tested benefits but this misses out those who are over the benefit limit and also those with no recourse to public funds. People simply will not isolate if they can't afford it.

Some people will need practical support as well, because they have children or other caring responsibilities.

People need to be sure they will not lose their job if they need to isolate. Job security generally has gone down the pan in recent years and we won't fix that all at once. There are penalties for employers who make someone come in to work if they should be isolating, but no specific penalties for dismissing someone or otherwise disadvantaging them. This needs to be made an 'automatically unfair' reason for dismissal so that employees are protected from the first day of employment and not just after two years.

Without this support in place, the criminal fine for those who fail to comply has simply added a disincentive to get a test in the first place and a disincentive to dob your mates in as contacts.

The other big problem at the moment is lack of trust and this is trickier to solve. At the moment the whole system is completely top-down, for example there have been loads of threads where the OP knows they are a contact (because their friend / relative has told them they have tested positive) but until they are contacted by T&T they cannot get time off work and there's no way for them to self-report as a contact. There also doesn't seem to be any way for those who are contacted to get back in touch with T&T if they have further questions or need support.

So T&T is this huge, faceless process that is done to people, rather than a process that invites engagement and true cooperation. It's no surprise people don't trust it.

The bulk of the system needs to be handed over to local authority public health. Good article here:

The purpose of this briefing is not to articulate a detailed new model but to suggest that, given the shortcomings of the Test and Trace Service, now is the time for a serious conversation about a more human and local system that is closely rooted in the daily lives of people and communities and makes it easier for us all to take the right action to keep ourselves and those around us safe.


That's what I reckon, anyway.

RedToothBrush Sun 01-Nov-20 17:06:01

Policy has shifted from t and t to mass testing.

StealthPolarBear Sun 01-Nov-20 19:30:06

Really good post Lang. I think it's depressing that people are accepting that it won't work even though we're currently in strict measures to get the rates down. There appears to be no forward thinking by the government, just get through the next few weeks, if cases are low then they'll try T&T, it won't work because they didn't get it up and running in the time they had, cases will rise again and so on until... What? I don't know.

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LangClegsInSpace Sun 01-Nov-20 21:07:02


Policy has shifted from t and t to mass testing.

If we actually get efficient, useful mass testing (I'll believe it when I see it) then that will be extremely valuable - but only as part of T&T.

No matter how many tests we do, no matter how quick the results, all a test does is provide information. We still need to support people to isolate and, unless we're able to test every single person on a near daily basis, we will still need to do contact tracing.

We still need to regain trust in the T&T system unless we opt for compulsory mass testing. I don't think that would be wise.

RedToothBrush Sun 01-Nov-20 21:33:13

I agree. But I do think that the government see the way out of this mess is now mass testing for various reasons.

MummyPop00 Sun 01-Nov-20 21:33:27

T&T doesn’t sit well with liberalised western democracies generally. NZ & Aus are outliers due to geography and self sufficiency.

If T&T worked, at least one of our comparable European peers would be posting admirable results by now. Germany, Europe’s gold standard is posting 20k cases a day. Nuff said.

StealthPolarBear Sun 01-Nov-20 21:45:57

Surely if it that or lockdown.
My understanding is it works well enough during non covid times. I appreciate its not just about scaling up but it surely proves its not fundamentally a bad idea

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