As we start to gradually and cautiously relax lockdown this week, I would like to let you know about the new NHS Test and Trace service.
This represents a real step forward in our response to the outbreak. The service includes 25,000 dedicated contact tracing staff, who have the capacity to trace the contacts of those who test positive for coronavirus.
The instructions are clear. If you get symptoms, isolate immediately and get a test.
If you test positive for coronavirus the NHS Test and Trace service will use dedicated contact tracing staff, online services and local public health experts to identify any close recent contacts you have had and alert those most at risk of having the virus who need to self-isolate. This will be complemented by the rollout of the NHS Covid-19 App in the coming weeks.
If you are contacted by NHS Test and Trace instructing you to isolate, you must. For those without symptoms who receive the call, I realise that this will involve making a sacrifice. But it is for a purpose: to ensure the safety and liberty of everyone.
A package of £300 million of new funding has been made available to local authorities to work with NHS Test and Trace to develop local outbreak control plans.
Their plans will focus on identifying and containing potential outbreaks in places such as workplaces, housing complexes, care homes and schools, ensuring testing capacity is deployed effectively and helping the most vulnerable in self-isolation access essential services.
Testing and tracing will play a vital role in helping us to combat this virus and I would like to ask all local residents to play their part; by reporting symptoms, continuing to follow the guidance on social distancing, and self-isolating when asked to by this new service.