UK contact-tracing going well, system has spare capacity, says minister

Britain's Health Secretary Matt Hancock chairs the daily COVID-19 press conference with Professor of Public Health and Epidemiology and Coordinator of the National Testing Effort, John Newton inside No10 Downing Street in London, Britain June 1, 2020. Andrew Parsons/10 Downing Street/Handout via REUTERS

LONDON (Reuters) - Britain’s new coronavirus test-and-trace system is working well and some of the thousands of contact-tracers who have been recruited are not yet fully occupied, Health Secretary Matt Hancock said on Monday.

“The system is up and running, it’s successful. I am very glad to report that those who are asked to isolate by the contact-tracers are expressing the willingness to do so,” Hancock said during the government’s daily coronavirus briefing.

“We have more capacity than we need and this is a good thing.”

Hancock did not give any data on the number of people who have been contacted under the new system. The national coordinator, John Newton, said the numbers of contacts being identified were “high”.

Reporting by Paul Sandle and Stephen Addison, writing by Estelle Shirbon