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Track and trace: How does Track and Trace work? What happens if Track and Trace text me?

NHS Track and Trace is a service which has been rolled out to notify Britons if they have come into contact with a confirmed case of coronavirus. Once a person has been diagnosed with the virus, they will have to give a comprehensive two-week list of people they have come into contact with and places they have been.

Part of this service involves restaurants, bars and pubs keeping information on who has visited the establishment and when.

These venues are now legally required to keep the details of any customers for 21 days.

Typically this is your name and a contact number as well as the date of your visit, arrival time and departure time.

If a group of people are attending, the contact information could be of the person who books the table.

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If venues do not record this information or fail to keep it for the specified 21 days they can be issued fines of up to £1,000 Prime Minister Boris Johnson revealed yesterday.

Mr Johnson said during the coronavirus press conference: “Fines will be levied against hospitality venues that fail to ensure their premises remain Covid-secure.”

The service has faced criticism, however, with Britons trying to get tests told none are available or asked to travel more than 400 miles away to be tested.

This has led to Mr Johnson and Chief Medical Officer Professor Chris Whitty to call on those who do not have symptoms not to apply for a test.

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How does Track and Trace work?

Track and Trace will contact you via text, email or phone call if you have come into contact with a confirmed case of coronavirus.

This could be a friend or colleague who has tested positive or an outbreak at a restaurant or other venue.

The text, call or email will tell you the next steps you should take, with a link to a questionnaire.

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Part of the questionnaire will ask if you have experienced symptoms of coronavirus – these are a fever, a new persistent cough or loss/change in taste.

If you have symptoms, you will be asked to isolate at home and members of your household will also have to isolate.

Anyone who has symptoms is urged to get a test in order to continue the track and trace process.

If you test positive, you will be asked to give a list of places you have been and people you have met over the past two weeks.

Track and trace will then get in contact with those venues and people and the process will begin for them.

What happens if Track and Trace text me?

If you receive the text you must self isolate until the date specified – or for the length of time noted in the message.

If the text instructs you to get a test, you must do so.

But with problems surrounding the testing system in England, Mr Johnson has pledged to increase the capacity in the coming months.

On Tuesday the NHS Test and Trace director of testing apologised to people who were unable to get a test, with many told the service was unavailable.

Others were told to travel hundreds of miles away from their homes to be tested.

Speaking at yesterday’s press conference, Mr Johnson revealed the Government’s plan to significantly increase testing – with the aim of allowing people to go about their lives as normal.

Dubbed Operation Moonshot, the plans would see millions of tests carried out daily, and according to documents seen by the BMJ, would have a cost almost as much as NHS England’s £114bn budget in 2018/19.

The Prime Minister said: “In the near future we hope to start using testing to identify people who are negative, who don’t have coronavirus, who are not infectious.

“So we can allow them to behave in a more normal way in the knowledge they can’t infect anyone else with the virus.”

However, there has been criticism and scepticism following the announcement of Operation Moonshot.

Dr Chaand Nagpaul, council chairman of the British Medical Association (BMA), said it is unclear how Operation Moonshot would work given the “huge problems” currently seen with lab capacity.

Dr Nagpaul added: “And the notion of opening up society based on negative tests of those without symptoms needs to be approached with caution – both because of the high rate of ‘false negatives’ and the potential to miss those who are incubating the virus.”

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