A massive system to find people who come into close contact with those infected with coronavirus will start in England on Thursday, Boris Johnson has said.
The prime minister said it “will change people’s lives”.
The aim of the test and trace system is to move from lockdown for all towards more targeted measures.
However, scientists have warned it is not a “magic bullet” and may prevent between 5% and 15% of infections.
What will I have to do now?
As is currently the case, anyone who develops symptoms of coronavirus – a persistent cough, fever or a sudden loss of taste or sense of smell – will have to isolate for seven days and the rest of their household for 14 days.
The difference is that from Thursday, everyone with symptoms should ask for a test online or call 119.
If the test comes back negative, everyone in your household can go back to normal.
But if the test comes back positive, the NHS Test and Trace team will get in touch – via text, email or phone call – to discuss who you have come into close contact with.
Any of those contacts deemed at risk of catching the virus will be instructed by the NHS to go into isolation for 14 days, whether they are sick or not.
They will be tested only if they develop symptoms. The rest of their household does not have to isolate, unless someone becomes ill.
Those isolating will be eligible for statutory sick pay.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock told the daily Downing Street briefing this “must become a new way of life” and will require a “national effort” – otherwise lockdown would have to continue.’