During what is proving to be a lovely, sunny summer, it feels good to be able to go out again. After months of being virtually confined to home, there is now a feeling of freedom, linked to the excitement of being able to meet-up with family and friends once again. This does not of course mean that the danger posed by the COVID-19 pandemic is over. We know that there are still over a thousand new cases reported in the UK each day and that, at best we have so far only reduced the speed at which it is spread. With this in mind I had planned to devote my column this week to the importance of Test and Trace, but I must confess that I am confused.
When the Government announced the plan for Test and Trace, there was going to be an app that they wanted us to download to our mobile phones. This would help to identify the recent contacts of those who had caught CV19. I seem to remember that this was due to be ready by mid-May. Indeed, it made sense to me to have this in place before the lockdown was relaxed.
May came and went. There had been trials on the Isle of Wight, but the outcome of those was vague. Then on Thursday 18th June, despite having spent a reported £11m on this app, Matt Hancock announced that this was being abandoned in favour of systems developed by Apple and Google, but that no date has been set for the rollout. This worries me, especially as the number of CV19 related deaths recorded daily, is greater now than it was when we went into lockdown. So, whilst we enjoy our new found freedom, it is vitally important that we do so with caution. We must continue to maintain our distance and if we develop symptoms, self-isolate immediately, book a test at www.nhs.uk/coronavirus or call 119. If the test proves positive, all members of the household will then need to self-isolate.
It is only by remaining vigilant that we will have a chance of beating this deadly virus.