Boris Johnson has said he is confident an effective coronavirus test, track and trace system will be operational in the UK by June 1.
He told MPs in the House of Commons that by next month the government will have recruited 25,000 trackers with the capacity to trace the contacts of 10,000 new Covid-19 cases per day.
The Prime Minister had been criticised by Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer for the “huge hole” that a lack of tracing had left in Britain’s fight against Covid-19 so far.
“There’s been no effective tracing in place since March 12 when tracing was abandoned. That’s nearly 10 weeks in a critical period without effective tracing,” the opposition leader said.
Mr Johnson accused Sir Keir of “feigned ignorance” on the subject - the government has previously said that contact tracing was stopped in March because the spread of the virus was outstripping capacity at the time.
He continued: “I have great confidence that by June 1 we will have a system that will enable us and help us very greatly to defeat this disease and move the country forward and I hope therefore that [Sir Keir] will abandon his slightly negative tone and support it.”
A contact tracing app, currently being trialled on the Isle of Wight, was supposed to have been rolled out across England from mid-May but that has now been pushed back.
Mr Johnson did not mention the app as part of his plan for June 1.
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