The government has been “deeply irresponsible” by easing the coronavirus lockdown without having a fully functional test and trace system in place, according to Newcastle’s Labour leader.

Nick Forbes says he fears that a second wave of Covid-19 infections is now “inevitable”.

Lockdown restrictions have been relaxed since Monday to allow up to six people to meet outdoors, while more schools and businesses will reopen in the coming weeks.

But the Test and Trace programme to identify and control new coronavirus outbreaks will not be fully operational until the end of this month.

The service launched last week without an app to support it being ready and fewer than 2,000 people were contacted in its first four days, according to a report from Channel 4 News.

Coun Forbes said that, despite Newcastle being chosen as one of 11 locations to share best practice with the government on how test and trace works, the city council is yet to receive its share of a £300 million fund to develop local outbreak control plans.

He added: “We are not going to have a fully operational track and trace system until the end of June, but the lockdown is being eased now. That is a very scary prospect.

“At the moment we have no idea where the virus is in the country nor how any outbreaks will be controlled.

“It is deeply irresponsible for the government to relax so many of the lockdown rules without an effective track and trace system in place.

“My fear is that the inevitable consequence is a big second wave of the virus.”

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The Labour council leader added that public confidence in social distancing measures had been undermined by the Dominic Cummings scandal and that asking contacts of anyone who tests positive for Covid-19 to self-isolate for 14 days will be a “huge challenge” for local authorities.

He said: “Lockdowns are going to rely on public support and compliance, and Dominic Cummings’ behaviour has fundamentally undermined any attempt to get people to do this.

“The message people have taken from that sorry affair is that they can do what they like.

“That is why self-isolating for 14 days is going to be a huge challenge – that is not just staying home as much as possible, it is not leaving the house for a whole two weeks.

“Those people will need food and medication delivered, they might need support for their pets - dog walking and so on.

“It is a really significant ask and I do not think the government has really worked through or understood the scale of what that might look like.”

The Department of Health and Social Care was contacted for a comment.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson told MPs on Wednesday that thousands of people were now self-isolating as a result of Test and Trace.

He said: “Every person who tests positive in the track and trace system is contacted, and then thousands of their contacts—people they have been in contact with—are themselves contacted.

"I can tell the House that at the moment, as a result of our test, track and trace system—which, contrary to what he said, was up and running on June 1 as I said it would be—and the efforts of the people who set it up, thousands of people are now following our guidance, following the law and self-isolating to stop the spread of the disease.”