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England’s Flawed Virus Contact Tracing Will Be Revamped

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Changes to Englands contact tracing system were a recognition by the government that a centralized, privatized operation is falling short of what is needed.

Credit: Hollie Adams/Getty Images

England will overhaul its faltering coronavirus contact-tracing system, the government said on Monday, shifting some control from private contractors to local public health teams and cutting the jobs of thousands of call center workers who had complained of having no one to call.

The changes were the clearest acknowledgment yet by British Prime Minister Boris Johnson's government that its centralized, privatized system for tracking down the patients' contacts has come up short.

Instead, the government has heeded some of the pleas of underfunded local public health directors, who have been warning for months that a London-run contact tracing system would not deliver the local intelligence needed to squelch flare-ups of the virus.

Under the reorganization announced on Monday, 6,000 contact tracing jobs will be cut by late August, one-third of the total employed by two outsourcing companies. Some of the remaining 12,000 privately employed tracers will be redeployed to regional public health teams.


From The New York Times
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