More people without symptoms will be tested; the goal is to reach 150,000 people a day who do not know they have the virus, such as those working in health and social care and other jobs that involve contact with other people.
A public campaign to encourage people to get tested is being launched on Thursday with a 60-second TV advert. Part of the new push is said to include the launch of the long-awaited contact tracing app, although there is still no date set.
Dido Harding, the chair of NHS test and trace, urged people to get tested, as part of an ambition to double the present number of tests a day from 250,000.
“I urge everybody to get a free test as soon as you experience coronavirus symptoms and to follow the advice you’re given if you are contacted by the service. If we all continue to play our part, then together we can stop the spread of this virus,” she said.
The latest data shows that the numbers testing positive for coronavirus have increased for the third week in a row from 3,800 to 3,900 to 4,100. Increased testing is part of the reason, but infection rates in England and particularly in some cities and regions have slightly increased.
Contact-tracing teams are still only reaching four out of five of those who test positive (81.4%) – a marginal increase on the 81.3% in the previous week.
More than 18,000 people were identified as coming into close contact with someone who has tested positive and been transferred to contact tracing. Of these, 13,974 people (75.1%) were reached and asked to self-isolate, a decrease from 78.4% the previous week.
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