England's expensive 'test and trace' system failed to limit infections: Lawmakers

WION Web Team
New Delhi, India Published: Mar 10, 2021, 02:39 PM(IST)

Britain PM Boris Johnson Photograph:( Reuters )

Story highlights

The $32 billion system has drawn criticism for its limited impact. The committee also referred to the costs of the system as “unimaginable”

British parliament’s Public Accounts Committee on Wednesday said that the country’s test and trace system has not changed much in terms of coronavirus mitigation.

The $32 billion system has drawn criticism for its limited impact. The committee also referred to the costs of the system as “unimaginable”.

The key goal of the programme was to break the cycle of lockdowns in the country. But the committee noted that it didn’t have much impact.

In addition, the committee’s report noted how the programme was too reliant on overpriced contractors. Last year, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said that the system would help limit the spread. Since then, the focus has shifted to vaccination.

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The country’s third lockdown began on January 5, and Johnson has revealed plans to phase out the lockdown. He intends to give the first dose to everybody by the end of July.

"Despite the unimaginable resources thrown at this project Test and Trace cannot point to a measurable difference to the progress of the pandemic," Meg Hillier, chair of the committee, and opposition Labour party lawmaker said.

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Hillier added how the promise on which this expense was “justified” - avoiding lockdowns, “has been broken, twice”.

Grant Shapps, a minister from Britain, on the other hand said that the system was put in place from scratch, and that it is playing a significant role to stop the virus from spreading.

"Whatever the coronavirus experience we have had as a nation, good and bad, it would have been one heck of a lot worse if we didn't have a test and trace system which has contacted so many people and prevented the disease from spreading further," Shapps told Sky News.

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