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English COVID tracers no longer contacting children separately, boosting figures

·1 min read
FILE PHOTO: An NHS test and trace worker talks to a driver at a drive-through testing centre following the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Bolton, Britain

LONDON (Reuters) - England's COVID-19 test and trace system has stopped trying to contact under-18s separately to ask them to self-isolate if a parent says they will tell their child, helping to boost the proportion of contacts of cases successfully traced.

After weeks near a record low of around 60% of contacts of positive cases being successfully traced, 72.5% percent of the 246,604 people identified as a close contact of someone who tested positive for COVID-19 in the week to Nov 25. were reached.

"Under-18s in a household will no longer be contact traced individually, providing the parent or guardian in the household confirms they have completed their legal duty to inform their child to self-isolate," the health ministry said in its weekly bulletin on Thursday.

"This operational improvement has resulted in an increase in the proportion of contacts reached, and the proportion reached within 24 hours."

(Reporting by Alistair Smout; editing by Michael Holden)