18/06/2020 11:45 BST | Updated 18/06/2020 12:22 BST

NHS Test And Trace Fails To Contact A Quarter Of People Who Tested Positive For Coronavirus

Figures published on Thursday show the programme managed to reach 10,192 of 14,045 people.

Coronavirus has changed everything. Make sense of it all with the Waugh Zone, our evening politics briefing. Sign up now

The government’s test and trace programme has failed to contact a quarter of people who tested positive for coronavirus since it launched, figures published on Thursday revealed.

A total of 14,045 people who tested positive for Covid-19 in England had their case transferred to the NHS Test and Trace system during the first two weeks of its operation.

According the Department of Health and Social Care of this total, 10,192 people (73%) were reached and asked to provide details of recent contacts.

The figures cover the period May 28 to June 10.

People who test positive for coronavirus are contacted and asked about their recent interactions – people they have been in direct contact with or been within two metres of for more than 15 minutes.

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

Dan Kitwood via Getty Images

Since the programme launched, 87,639 people have been asked to self-isolate after being identified as having been in close contact with someone who tested positive.

Boris Johnson had promised the UK would have a “world-beating” test and trace programme by the start of June.

But Baroness Dido Harding, who heads the programme, admitted last week that it was not yet “gold standard” but was “fit for purpose”.

The scheme, rolled out last month, is seen as an essential tool in suppressing coronavirus and returning the UK to something approaching normal life.

“Is it completely perfect? No, of course it isn’t. Is there stuff that we all need to do better? Yes there is,” Harding said.

“But I think it’s fit for purpose as we stand today and will get better through the summer.”