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England’s test and trace system reaches 26,985 in first week


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England’s new track and tracing system was able to contact two thirds of the people who tested positive for Covid-19 and were referred to it in its first week, and then succeeded in contacting 85 per cent of their contacts to ask them to self isolate.

Of the 8,117 who were transferred to the system, 2,710 were not reached and did not provide details of their recent contacts, illustrating the challenge faced by a programme which is seen as a key tool to help loosen blanket lockdown measures.

A smartphone tracking app will be added to the programme in coming weeks, although the government has not specified when.

Releasing its first data, the Department of Health’s test and trace programme said it reached 31,794 contacts of the original positive cases between 28 May and 3 June, and of those it was able to reach 26,985, or 85 per cent, and advise them to self-isolate.

Each person who tested positive and was traced had the equivalent of 5.9 contacts per person.

Meanwhile, Moderna Inc on Thursday (June 11) confirmed it plans to start a trial of 30,000 volunteers of its much-anticipated coronavirus vaccine in July as the company enters the final stage of testing.

The Cambridge, Massachusetts-based biotech said the primary goal of the study would be to prevent symptomatic Covid-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus. The key secondary goal would be prevention of severe disease, as defined by keeping people out of the hospital.

Moderna said it has selected the 100 microgram dose of the vaccine for the late-stage study. At that dose level, the company is on track to deliver about 500 million doses per year, and possibly up to one billion doses per year, starting in 2021 from the company’s internal US manufacturing site and strategic collaboration with Swiss drugmaker Lonza.



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