The all-party parliamentary group on coronavirus, which I chair, led hearings all through the summer; the very first ones we held back in July were on test and trace, and then we did it again last week. It was saddening to see that a lot of the predictions many of the experts made about the issues with test and trace back in July have since come to fruition. The things they were saying were very much common sense.
First, and I hope this is self-evident, this stuff is not easy. It may seem easy when we have read a briefing from the Library or whatever else, and the basic principles are easy, but the specifics of running a massive lab are very niche and require a lot of expertise. There are very few people in this country who can do this incredibly well, so when we say it should be a locally led test and trace system, of course it needs to be backed up by national capacity, but it should be led by those who are closest on the ground. We also took evidence from experts in Italy, who were also pointing to what Germany has done, and what they have in common is that that is how they run it: the people closest to the ground lead it, backed up by national systems and national resourcing. That is what we are asking for; it is what we have been asking for for the past three months, and here we are on the verge of what is likely to be an inevitable second national lockdown, because yet again we are not listening to the scientists.