Covid latest: Test and Trace has worst week, Religious U-Turn?, rule breakers to be ‘clamped down’

An NHS Test and Trace logo on a member of staff’s jacket at a Covid-19 testing centre in Southwark, south London.

Our daily round-up of the latest coronavirus news.

Covid test result delay

Just 26.4% of people who were tested for Covid-19 in England in the week ending October 28 at a regional site, local site or mobile testing unit – a so-called “in-person” test – received their result within 24 hours.

This is up slightly from 22.6% in the previous week.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson had pledged that, by the end of June, the results of all in-person tests would be back within 24 hours.

He told the House of Commons on June 3 that he would get “all tests turned around within 24 hours by the end of June, except for difficulties with postal tests or insuperable problems like that”.

Track and trace hits new low

Some 59.9% of close contacts of people who tested positive for Covid-19 in England were reached through the Test and Trace system in the week ending October 28, according to the latest figures.

This is the lowest weekly percentage since Test and Trace began.

The figure is down from 60.6% for the previous week.

For cases managed by local health protection teams, 97.9% of contacts were reached and asked to self-isolate in the week to October 28.

For cases managed either online or by call centres, 58.5% of close contacts were reached and asked to self-isolate.

There is hope that religious ceremonies can happen during the current lockdown.

Religious U-Turn?

Cardinal Vincent Nichols, leader of the Roman Catholic Church in England and Wales, said he believes the Government will do a U-turn on its decision to ban religious services during the lockdown.

The Archbishop of Westminster told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “I think it will be changed.

“I think the evidence we’ve seen over the last couple of days is that this particular aspect of the decision by the Government is not supported by any scientific evidence and clearly shows a misunderstanding of the importance of religious faith.

“I think those things will lead to change. As soon as possible, I hope to see places of worship opened again (for services).”

He said churches are “well-managed, very well cleansed and among the safest places people go to”, adding: “Going to church is not a social gathering, it is a very significant, fundamental part of people’s lives.”

Lord chancellor wants to ‘clamp down’ on rule breakers

Robert Buckland said he supported clamping down on the “tiny minority” of people who are not willing to obey the lockdown.

Asked on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme whether he supported police in their warning that they would “deal severely” with rule-breakers, the Justice Secretary said: “I do. The fines system is clear, it is already working.

“There will be increased fines for repeat offenders.

“I think the message has to go out very clearly that this will only work if we all play our part.

“The majority of people do brilliantly but we have to deal with that tiny minority who do not wish to support other people.”


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