A Sage expert today called on No 10 to remodel the test and trace system because a million people a day could soon be in quarantine if daily case figures rise to 40,000 – as restaurants are forced to shut due to the NHS app telling them to isolate and a fifth of NHS staff remain at home.
Dr Adam Kucharski, a member of the Scientific Pandemic Influenza Modelling group, said the government needed to find an alternative to long quarantine periods following contact with a positive case or risk creating a lockdown in all but name.
Dr Kucharski told BBC Radio 4’s World At One programme: ‘If we get to a situation over the summer where there’s 30,000 to 40,000 cases per day, you’ll be potentially looking at maybe even over a million contacts per day who may be eligible for quarantine.Dailymail.co.uk: News, Sport, Showbiz, Celebrities from Daily MailPauseNext video1:37 / 2:02SettingsFull-screenRead More
‘In situations where you’re quarantining large numbers of people you do end up with similar outcomes to lockdown.’
The academic said colleagues are investigating whether rapid daily testing over five days may be as effective as longer quarantine periods.
‘These measures are reducing transmission considerably and I think if we have an alternative that gives a similar reduction in transmission but less disruption, we do need to seriously consider if that’s going to be a better option,’ he said.
It came as more furious pub and restaurant owners today came forward to blast the NHS Test and Trace app for causing a staffing crisis, with businesses forced to close because employees are being repeatedly pinged.
Workers must stay at home for up to ten days after coming into contact with a positive case even if they test negative for Covid. Hospitality chiefs want this changed so that anyone who receives a negative result can go back to work as part of a ‘test and release scheme’.