Contact tracing is still in effect, but when might you get ‘pinged’ to self-isolate? (Picture: Getty Images)
Despite Freedom Day – the day when most restrictions like wearing a mask will cease – looming, Covid-19 cases have been rocketing, with more than 50,000 new cases recorded yesterday.
More than half a million alerts were sent to people in England in the space of a week, with a total of 520,194 notifications sent in the week to July 7 and over 1,500,000 people have been told to self-isolate in a week.
So when it comes to getting told you need to self isolate, how far back does contact tracing measure?
Here is all you need to know.
How far back does Track and Trace go?
People who test positive for coronavirus are asked to provide details of their close contacts.
Hospitality services require users to ‘check in’ as contact tracing continues. (Picture: Getty Images)
People will be contacted to isolate if they have been near within a nine-day period, starting 48 hours before symptoms, and are:
- people they’ve spent at least 15 minutes with, at a distance of less than two metres (6ft)
- sexual partners, people they live with or have had face-to-face conversations with, at a distance of less than one metre
These contacts are then approached on text, email or phone.
If contacted this way, you must self-isolate at home for 10 days from your last point of contact with them, even if you don’t have symptoms.
How does the NHS App work out who to ‘ping’?
The other way contact tracing works is through the NHS app.
Scanning a QR code to check-in to a venue is required at select venues, including close contact services (like hairdressers) and hospitality services.
The algorithm for who receives a message to isolate uses the date of symptom onset to calculate who they are most likely to have infected.
The algorithm looks at the daily risk for every app user who they came into contact with from two days before symptoms first appeared, up to a maximum of 10 days after symptoms first appeared.
If an app user’s risk score on any of these days crosses the risk threshold it is identified as high-risk and they will be notified and directed to further guidance.
For the purposes of contact tracing, a high-risk encounter is classed as one where an individual has been within two metres of someone who has tested positive for Covid for at least 15 minutes.
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