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The contact tracing shambles.

Discussion in 'The Lounge' started by Footloose, Sep 4, 2020.

  1. Footloose

    Footloose Well-Known Member

    I've just read an article on 'The Conversation' website which highlights an opportunity missed, by not building on the NHS's existing sexual health network (SHN) which has been used for decades to track sexually transmitted infections.
    https://theconversation.com/coronav...re-an-army-of-existing-contact-tracers-140825

    The UK’s network of sexual health clinics is unique as it already has a locally embedded public health infrastructure with decades of experience in contact tracing. I would have thought, deploying a revised version of this to track coronavirus, makes a hell of a lot more sense than getting SERCO to develop a new dedicated contact tracing system from scratch? Most of SERCO's recruited contact tracers are entirely new to the role and presumably, this isn't also using the SHN's long-standing network of links to GPs and other local NHS services.
     
    Learning and RogerMac like this.
  2. Learning

    Learning Ethelred the Ill-Named

    Some people in a national organisation wanted to build their own empire. Using SERCO, famous for its expertise in --------- government contacts was bound to fail.
     
    Zou likes this.
  3. spinno

    spinno Well-Known Member

    Let us not forget it's not just any old shambles it's world class shambles:eek:
     
    Dan S, Zou and Learning like this.
  4. Andrew Flannigan

    Andrew Flannigan Well-Known Member

    To be fair, I'd guess that the SHN is set up to deal with tens of cases per week, not thousands of cases per day. Also, contact tracing sexual contacts is far easier in that people tend to have some idea who they had sex with but how are they expected to know the identities of random contacts on a bus or train?

    While I agree that Serco appear to provide the current gold standard for incompetence, I'm not at all sure who would be any better equipped to set up this sort of system on the scale required. The obsession with "privacy" means that basic tools for contact tracing on a national scale simply don't exist.
     
  5. John Farrell

    John Farrell Well-Known Member

    The basic tool for contact tracing is an interview with the sufferer, to work out movements and contacts. The contacts are then interviewed, etc. This requires staff on the ground, and also the ability to make a large number of phone calls. Some countries add to this, smartphone apps which track interactions with other smarphones. These apps, though, don't replace the contact tracers. Few countries at the start of this (South Korea, Taiwan) had a suitable system.
     
  6. Footloose

    Footloose Well-Known Member

    Well, I would have thought the setting up/assigning of more labs to test the samples collected is part of what SERCO is supposed to be delivering on and I'm sure I heard someone say that this side of things isn't working as well as expected either. However, if this is the case, it doesn't seem to be getting highlighted as much as maybe it should.
     
  7. Footloose

    Footloose Well-Known Member

    Now here's a thing which just might raise a hackle or two - Digital ID cards!

    With Covid-19 hanging around for some time into the future, we'll be handing over our phone nos and addresses, which will no doubt before too long be harvested by some scumbag or those lovely people who fill your smartphone and web-browser with adverts will make use of, whilst an ID card could do the same job, with varying levels of access to the info it contains.
     
  8. WillieJ

    WillieJ Well-Known Member

    I have no objection to ID cards but am very much against "smart" IDcards with loads of data which is what you are proposing.
     
    Catriona likes this.
  9. Learning

    Learning Ethelred the Ill-Named

    A separate thread for id cards might be appropriate.
     
  10. LesleySM

    LesleySM Well-Known Member

    Having worked in sexual health for a few years when all this kicked off I said they should use the software sexual health uses to follow-up contacts and has done for years
     
  11. LesleySM

    LesleySM Well-Known Member

    Which really is the problem
     
  12. John Farrell

    John Farrell Well-Known Member

    If the outbreak is small, ask for those on particular buses to get tested. This is where the digital apps come in - some record proximity to others with the app, and if enough of the population is using it contacts can be identified.
     
  13. Andrew Flannigan

    Andrew Flannigan Well-Known Member

    But if one person isn't using it, becomes infected and goes on to infect several others?
     
  14. Chester AP

    Chester AP Well-Known Member

    If the person who has tested positive has a lifestyle that they don't want investigated closely by anybody, what incentive is there to give accurate information about their contacts?

    Once again Boris and his team have a naive faith in the willingness of people to co-operate. An old friend of mine died from this a few weeks ago, and his widow believes that many young people won't take it seriously unless far more of them die too.
     
  15. John Farrell

    John Farrell Well-Known Member

    That is the weakness of the digital app. Many people in western countries appear to have privacy concerns about their use.
     
  16. Chester AP

    Chester AP Well-Known Member

    I don't have a smartphone, and the system appears to assume everybody does.
     
  17. IvorETower

    IvorETower Little Buttercup

    Yesterday I flew back into the UK from Germany, which is exempt from the self-quarantine rule. I landed at Heathrow T5... the queue to immigration snaked back and forth on itself, with people only separated by the flexible tape on pillar things. You can probably guess what I am going to write next.....others in the queue may have been from different countries and of different nationalities; many were dressed in shorts/athletic tops with perspiration on skin. OK so I may have been OK when I landed, as may have been all people on my plane (which was full, no empty middle seats thank you BA) but we may all have some into contact with people carrying covid-19 whilst in the queue.... wholly unsatisfactory, even supermarkets take more care in separating queues at their tills.
     
  18. John Farrell

    John Farrell Well-Known Member

    If you arrived by air in New Zealand (you would be a citizen or permanent resident) you would be taken off the aircraft in small physically distanced groups, to have your temperature taken, and be interviewed by a nurse to see if you had covid symptoms. If you had symptoms, you would be taken to the Jet Park Hotel, where those with infections are isolated. If you had no symptoms, you would be taken to another hotel, to do your fortnight's managed isolation.
     
    Catriona likes this.
  19. Chester AP

    Chester AP Well-Known Member

    Whatever the current rules, surely travelling anywhere in a commercial flight must be an 'only in real emergency' choice? An enclosed space, with repeated air re-circulation and close proximity to other people must be the perfect way to maximise the risk of infection from one single infected person to everybody else on the flight.

    I am not surprised by farce you describe at immigration 'control'. Because of the number of people there, the system would collapse if all the required precautions were enforced.
     
  20. Learning

    Learning Ethelred the Ill-Named

    This is a tricky one. I don't want to end up in the stop bath, or even worse the fixer, the latter of which is permanent.
    I will risk asking a couple of questions.
    Where are clusters of infection often found?
    Where are most illegal immigrants living?​
    I am not suggesting that illegals are the only people in those self imposed ghettos. That would be stupid. It is uncomfortable for most people that ghettos might even exist in Britain. After all ghettos belonged to Nazi Germany and Poland. The uncomfortable truth is that near ghettos do exist in Britain. They are filled with South Asians who have not escaped to mainstream society, recent African immigrants, recent immigrants from places like Syria, and poor whites who never left the poor areas. We need to assimilate these unfortunate people into mainstream society. It was not helpful that border agency operatives were involved in some covid tracing operations. Even I recognize that there are circumstances where there is a good reason to turn a blind eye.
     

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