Everyone has a ‘civic duty’ to work with the NHS Test and Trace system, says Matt Hancock – what we learned from today’s coronavirus briefing

Health Secretary Matt Hancock has said the UK public has a “civic duty” to work with the NHS Test and Trace system in order to beat coronavirus.

Thursday, 11th June 2020, 8:04 pm

The daily coronavirus briefing on Thursday, June 11 was held by Mr Hancock and Baroness Dido Harding – who is leading Government efforts with the NHS Test and Trace scheme.

The pair outlined the next stages of the programme, as well as revealing that the Government has the power to introduce local lockdowns should cases spike in certain areas.

Here is what we learned during today’s coronavirus briefing:

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Health Secretary Matt Hancock held today's coronavirus briefing

Health leaders say the NHS Test and Trace scheme is ‘off to a good start’ – but they won’t rule out enforcement if necessary

The NHS Test and Trace scheme is a key part of efforts to limit the spread of coronavirus as lockdown continues to ease.

Mr Hancock said everyone has a “civic duty” to work with NHS Test and Trace before describing the scheme as a “radar” for tracking Covid-19.

Baroness Dido Harding has said the scheme has “got off to a good start” but a partnership between the public and the NHS must remain strong for it to have an impact.

The Health Secretary also revealed that the Government may enforce the scheme if needed.

He told the briefing: “We’re not ruling it out at the moment but we don’t think we need it.”

Mr Hancock also confirmed the mobile app to go along with the scheme will be brought in “when it’s right to do so”.

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The Health Secretary denied that it was dangerous to be easing the lockdown further

Matt Hancock claimed that it was not dangerous to be easing the lockdown further during this afternoon’s press conference.

It follows Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s announcement yesterday that “support bubbles” can be formed and outdoor attractions, such as zoos, can reopen alongside shops from next week.

The Secretary of State put his confidence down to statistics coming out of the NHS Test and Trace scheme, claiming that “we will get a world-class system”.

He went on to say that the better test and trace becomes, the more lockdown measures will be relaxed.

Mr Hancock concluded his argument with “we’re coming out of lockdown carefully and safely.”

Local lockdowns could be implemented if needed – and the Government has the power to enforce them

On the back of the NHS Test and Trace scheme, areas which see an outbreak of the virus could be put into further lockdown.

He said: “We do have powers to do things locally if we need to take local action to control the outbreaks, those powers reside with me as Secretary of State.”

Mr Hancock also revealed there is a system in place for local leaders to raise concerns should there be a surge in cases in particular areas.

A testing study carried out by the Office for National Statistics found that as many as 80% had Covid-19 – but didn’t show symptoms

On the back of the results, Mr Hancock said: “Asymptomatic transmission is one of the things that makes controlling this disease really hard and is novel for any coronavirus.”

He went on to say that test and tracing would be part of the solution for “breaking the chain of transmission”.

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