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20 May 2020updated 06 Oct 2020 9:45am

Lunchtime summary: Track and trace ready by 1 June, but how good will it be?

By Samuel Horti

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has pledged that the government’s coronavirus track and trace system, which comprises an NHS app and 25,000 contact tracers, will be ready by 1 June – but how complete it will be remains to be seen. 

Johnson said the contact tracers would be able to track up to 10,000 new Covid-19 infections every day. But earlier, Justice Secretary Robert Buckland, who said he was merely “hoping” the app would be ready by 1 June, said the system would not be “fully developed” for several weeks. “I think it won’t necessarily be as widespread and as full-blown as we would like, I think that would develop over the next several weeks, over the next month or so.”

Government scientific advisers have warned that the system must be up, running, and working effectively before schools are reopened, as some are scheduled to do on 1 June, which means the quality of the scheme matters a great deal. A barebones system will not be enough.

In other news, Rolls-Royce announced plans to cut 9,000 jobs and the head of a pilots’ union accused airlines of exaggerating the impact of the pandemic in order to reduce staff numbers.

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(Image credit: TOLGA AKMEN / AFP)