Great Britain

Coronavirus chaos as ‘world class’ test and trace staff complain of having nothing to do

The scheme for contact tracing coronavirus patients launched on May 28 after a Government recruitment drive, with workers spending weeks training to use the software. According to the Sun, hundreds are thought to have left but neither TTEC or Capita, two outsourcing firms, would comment on figures. A tracer with TTEC told the newspaper: “It’s been a total waste of time — so boring. We’re sat waiting for something to do.

“A lot of the technology hasn’t worked. It’s a mess. We’re being let go with a week’s pay.”

A tracer with Capita added: “Swathes are being let go.”

TTEC said it was “tailoring personnel requirements”.

A source at Capita said the task was impossible as people were working from home with insufficient technology.

south korea

Contact tracing was a major part of South Korea's coronavirus strategy (Image: GETTY)


A Swiss soldier looks at a contact tracing app (Image: GETTY)

A woman who quit her job to be a tracer has been let go and she made no calls in her ten days.

She said: “The Prime Minister promised a world-beating service. We are a million miles from that.”

The Sun reports that background checks into tracers with access to personal data have not been made.

A tracer recruited for Serco claimed: “If I was a sex offender or a domestic abuser, this could lead me to victims. I’m stunned at the complacency.”

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The Department of Health has insisted DBS checks have been or are being carried out (Image: GETTY)

Serco has, however, insisted, its call handlers have undergone DBS checks and are trained in data security.

The Department of Health insisted: “The majority of call handlers have cleared their DBS checks and the remainder are going through the process.”

It is hoped effective contact tracing can help reduce the spread of coronavirus infections and allow lockdowns to become localised.

The app is currently being trialled in the Isle of Wight, with Nadhim Zahawai, a junior Business Minister saying it will be ready by the end of this month.


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One tracer challenged Boris Johnson's assertion of a world-class system (Image: GETTY)

The chief operating officer has said that issues with the app mean it will not be world-class until September or October.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps has said the app would need to be continually updated to flesh out bugs.

When the app is ready, everyone with a smartphone will be asked to download it.


The latest UK coronavirus statistics (Image: EXPRESS)

It aims to inform users if they come in close contact with someone who is later found to have coronavirus.

Contact tracers will then contact the person in question and ask for them to self-isolate for 14 days.

Anyone contacted by the app will have the identity of the person afflicted with coronavirus revealed to them.


Stock: The UK has crossed the 40,000 deaths milestone (Image: GETTY)

If a user begins to develop coronavirus symptoms, they must inform the NHS through the app.

This could then be used to identify people they have been in close contact with, who may need to make precautions.

The UK coronavirus death toll exceeded 40,000 this week.

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