Coronavirus in UK: IT failure blamed after 16,000 Covid-19 cases missed by contact tracers

Contact tracers in England are playing catch up after an IT glitch meant nearly 16,000 cases of coronavirus went unreported last week.

Monday, 5th October 2020, 9:46 am

Public Health England (PHE) said 15,841 cases were left out of the UK’s daily case figures between September 25 and October 2.

A technical failure meant all those who tested positive were informed - but potentially thousands of their close contacts were not.

Sign up to our public interest bulletins - get the latest news on the Coronavirus

Sign up to our public interest bulletins - get the latest news on the Coronavirus

It is understood to have been caused when some files holding reports of positive test results exceeded their maximum file size - cutting off the excess cases from totals.

Contact tracers in England are playing catch up after an IT glitch meant nearly 16,000 cases of coronavirus went unreported last week.
Contact tracers in England are playing catch up after an IT glitch meant nearly 16,000 cases of coronavirus went unreported last week.

The missing cases have been added to the 12,872 cases previously reported on Saturday, and the 22,961 reported on Sunday.

PHE said the IT issue is now fixed, with outstanding cases passed onto contact tracers on Saturday morning.

Labour described the glitch as "shambolic".

Public Health England's interim chief executive Michael Brodie said: "After rapid investigation, we have identified that 15,841 cases between 25 September and 2 October were not included in the reported daily Covid-19 cases.

“The majority of these cases occurred in the most recent days.

"Every one of these cases received their Covid-19 test result as normal and all those who tested positive were advised to self-isolate."

"We fully understand the concern this may cause and further robust measures have been put in place as a result," he said.

Test and Trace and Public Health England joint medical adviser, Susan Hopkins, added that "a thorough public health risk assessment was undertaken to ensure outstanding cases were prioritised for contact tracing effectively".

A message from the Editor

Thank you for reading this story on our website. While I have your attention, I also have an important request to make of you.

The dramatic events of 2020 are having a major impact on many of our advertisers - and consequently the revenue we receive. We are now more reliant than ever on you taking out a digital subscription to support our journalism.

Subscribe to scotsman.com and enjoy unlimited access to Scottish news and information online and on our app. Visit https://www.u2swisshome.com/subscriptions now to sign up.

By supporting us, we are able to support you in providing trusted, fact-checked content for this website.

Joy Yates

Editorial Director

 0 comments

Want to join the conversation? Please or to comment on this article.