‘No immediate return to normal’ after vaccination

Contact tracing performance jumps from 60.5% to 72.5% reached.

But it’s largely due to a new way of counting household contacts.

Before last week, test and trace could only count people who lived with an infected person if they actually spoke to them.

That meant families would receive phone call after phone call as contact tracers tried to speak to children in the household.

But now, under-18s count as “reached” if the parents or guardian agrees to let them know they should isolate.

People working in test and trace hope that this will improve people’s willingness to be contacted and, ultimately, to isolate.

And it has improved the contact tracing performance figure from 58% to 73% for people living in the same household in a single week.

But performance for people who don’t live in the same house hasn’t changed much in a week.

People who live in the same house as an infected person accounted for 80% of named contacts in the data for the week to 18 November, so that accounting improvement is the reason for most of the improvement in the headline figure.

Turnaround times continue to improve

The latest figures show 54% of in-person tests were returned within 24 hours, up from 51% last week and the low of 15% at the start of October, but still below June’s peak.

If you include people who get their result more than 24 hours after the test but on the calendar day after it took place, the figure rises to 85%.

The international vaccine supply chain has been targeted by cyber-espionage, according to IBM.

The company says it tracked a campaign aimed at the delivery “cold chain” used to keep vaccines at the right temperature during transportation.

The attackers’ identity is unclear – but IBM said the sophistication of their methods indicated a nation state.

It follows warnings from governments – including the UK’s – of countries targeting aspects of vaccine research.

Latest Covid test figures

A total of 110,620 people tested positive for Covid-19 in England at least once in the week to November 25, according to the latest test and trace figures.

This is down 28% on the previous week and is the lowest total since the week ending October 14.

With Christmas only weeks away now, Transport Secretary Grant Shapps says the government is “taking steps to try to ease journeys” to see family.

“Clearing 778 miles of roadworks and postponing rail upgrade works will ease congestion, minimise disruption and allow extra services to run,” he says.

“That action is backed by scrapping the admin fees for changing Advance rail tickets, ensuring a strong staff presence to help people on their way.”

Shapps says he’s asked former Olympics transport boss and Network Rail chairman Sir Peter Hendy to carry out a “rigorous assessment” of transport.

Source: BBC

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