track trace

Baroness Harding is having to quarantine until 26 November
Baroness Harding's husband, Conservative former minister John Penrose, had already been in self-isolation.

The under-pressure head of NHS Test and Trace is having to self-isolate after being pinged by the scheme's smartphone app.

Baroness Dido Harding revealed on Twitter she would have to quarantine until 26 November after receiving an alert.

Alongside a screenshot of the NHS Test and Trace app, she posted: "Nothing like personal experience of your own products this overnight.

"Feeling well. Many hours of Zoom ahead."

Comment: It's alright for Harding, she can simply stay home and chat on Zoom and still get paid her ample salary, meanwhile the vast majority of workers whose job involves more than video calls would see their livelihoods suffer, and all over a harmless virus.

A Department of Health and Social Care spokesperson said: "Dido Harding is self-isolating after being anonymously notified to do so by the NHS COVID-19 app.

"The NHS Test and Trace system continues to break chains of transmission, with everybody having their part to play in tackling this virus."

Baroness Harding's husband, Conservative former minister John Penrose, had already been in self-isolation.

The Weston-Super-Mare MP revealed on Twitter last Monday that his NHS app had "just gone off" and told him to self-isolate.

Asked at the time whether he had spoken to his wife about it, Mr Penrose said: "We are trying to make sure we are doing it by the book, if I can put it that way.

"Her NHS app has not gone off, so it's someone I have been in contact with rather than her."

According to NHS guidance, if you are told to self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace but are not displaying COVID-19 symptoms, then people you live with do not need to self-isolate with you.

Baroness Harding has faced criticism over the NHS Test and Trace scheme, with one senior Conservative MP having called for her resignation.

The latest figures, published last week, revealed four in 10 contacts of those who tested positive were being missed.

Test and Trace reached 60.4% of contacts of people who tested positive for coronavirus in the week ending 4 November.

This was slightly up on the previous week's figure of 59.9%, but still made it one of the lowest rates since the scheme launched back in May.

Senior Tory calls on Test and Trace head to go

Sir Bernard Jenkin, the chair of the House of Commons' powerful liaison committee, last month called for Baroness Harding to be given a "well-earned break" and said there was a "vacuum of leadership" in Test and Trace.

However, Boris Johnson has consistently supported Baroness Harding, despite admitting there are problems with the scheme.

The prime minister, who is self-isolating himself after meeting with an MP who later tested positive, once promised a "world-beating" national Test and Trace scheme.

Comment: Billions of pounds of tax-payers money later - invested in a private company with no experience in the area - and the system still doesn't work as it is intended.