Without a properly functioning Find, test, trace and isolate system Britain will for ever be struggling from lockdown to lockdown to keep the Covid-19 pandemic from accelerating.
We now know that Serco’s tracing system traces only about two thirds of contacts and also often takes longer than 48 hours to communicate results.
In my view this will never allow control of the infection because you’ve got a one, two or three day delay for the test result and then more delay to trace contacts – you are always running in order to stay still.
Testing needs to be localised and quick – 12 hours turnaround maximum, I’d suggest. Find, trace and isolate needs to be local too – and I’m sure if control was local, isolation conditions would be more likely to be complied with. This, I consider essential – and needing also to be combined with a proper financial compensation package for the household which is subject to that fortnight’s isolation.
In short I cannot see that the pandemic will ever be brought under control without rethinking the Find, test, trace and isolate system. It has supposedly cost £12billion to set up and run so far – and some management consultants are on £7,000 a day (earning in three days, thousands more than many of the care workers that Johnson encouraged us to clap for, earn in the entire year).
In spite of those consultants – or maybe because of them, it isn’t working.
It is a false economy to fail to invest in a functional local system and indeed the economy itself will never properly ‘recover’ unless people have confidence in pandemic control.
That is not taking account of the misery of deaths that the failures of Serco have brought forward and are the result of that other partnership:
And unless and until we have a properly functioning Find, test, trace and isolate system or an effective vaccine arrives, this is a ‘strategic’ partnership that is both unpaid and everlasting.