NHS Test and Trace builds on the existing requirements to self-isolate if you have any coronavirus symptoms; minimise travel and meetings; and keep 2 metres from people not in your household wherever possible.
Now, if you test positive for coronavirus you will be texted or emailed by NHS Test and Trace using the contact details required to book a test. You will be asked to provide details of anyone you have coughed on, had close contact with, or been within 2 metres for more than 15 minutes from 2 days before you were symptomatic to 7 days after the start of symptoms. These ‘contacts’ will then be phoned, e-mailed or texted and asked to self-isolate for 14 days from the last time they were close to the infected person, even if they show no symptoms. In this way, we can break the infection chain. Further information is available on the GOV.UK website.
In future, the NHS Covid-19 app will complement this form of contact tracing, helping to speed up the process, and reaching people who cannot be traced through traditional forms e.g. someone you do not know but sat near to on public transport.
Your questions answered
Won’t this mean that people are self isolating when they don’t have the disease?
Yes, but this is better than the whole nation being in lockdown. People who are self-isolating because they have been contacted are entitled to statutory sick pay (as if they have the disease).
Will my contacts know it is me who has exposed them to infection?
No. The NHS Test and Trace service will not tell your contacts your name or details, but you are encouraged to get in touch with contacts as soon as possible so they can be warned early and expect a call.
How will NHS Test and Trace work for NHS and healthcare staff?
If you have correctly used PPE you will not be considered a ‘contact’ for anyone who tests positive.
Are there privacy issues?
Public Health England is allowed to use personally identifiable information without consent where this is in the public interest. Your data will be kept securely. NHS Test and Trace may ask you about people you live with, leisure and work, but will NEVER ask you for financial details.