Test & Trace – We All Need To Understand The Process

Test and Trace has been running for a week and it’s clear from media coverage and the PR focus of the Government that many of us still don’t understand it fully, and who is eligible for testing and how the tracing process works.

Even more importantly, not enough people with coronavirus symptoms are ordering a test says the chair of NHS improvement, Baroness Dido Harding.

A Few Key Points

  • No-one contacted as a result of you testing positive for coronavirus will be told your identity.
  • Anyone in England with coronavirus symptoms can now get a test.
  • The tracers will only be calling from 0300 0135 000 (see below for advice on avoiding Test and Trace scams)

Coronavirus: How does contact tracing work in England

People who have been in close contact with someone found to have Covid-19 are now being traced. The NHS contact tracers will ask people they get in touch with to self-isolate for a fortnight.

Here’s an excellent BBC article on how the system works. It answers many of the questions we might have, including how it protects your privacy.

Read the full BBC article


Getting tested & what happens if I test positive for coronavirus?

Anyone in England with coronavirus symptoms can now get a test. If it’s positive you’ll be contacted by text, email or phone and asked to log on to the NHS Test and Trace website.

Close contacts are:

  • people you spend 15 minutes or more with at a distance of less than 2m
  • people you have direct contact with – such as sexual partners, household members or people with whom you have had face-to-face conversations at a distance of less than 1m

The contact must have taken place between two days before and up to seven days after symptoms appeared. No-one contacted as a result of you testing positive for coronavirus will be told your identity. A parent or guardian will need to give permission for a call with under-18s to continue.

How do I know it is the NHS contacting me?

The NHS Test and Trace service will not ask you:

  • for bank details, or payments
  • for details of any other accounts, such as social media
  • to set up a password or PIN number over the phone
  • to call a premium rate number, such as those starting 09 or 087

England’s Health Secretary Matt Hancock says the tracers will only be calling from 0300 0135 000.

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