To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, when he was first made aware that Track and Trace activity was not automatically triggered by a positive lateral flow test; what steps his Department took in response to that matter; how many positive lateral flow test results were not referred to contact tracers; and what steps his Department is taking to (a) assess the risk of unchecked community transmission as a result of that matter (b) trace those people who were close contacts of someone who received a positive lateral flow test.
Contact tracing following a positive lateral flow device (LFD) test commenced on 27 January 2021 in England for LFD tests carried out in supervised conditions, in view of increased prevalence of COVID-19. Prior to this, contact tracing commenced following a positive confirmatory polymerase chain reaction test after a positive LFD test.
Data is not currently held on the number of positive LFD tests not referred to contact tracers for the period before 27 January. There are no plans to carry out a separate assessment of the implications for community transmission, as this is monitored on an ongoing basis. Nor are there plans to trace contacts of people who had a positive LFD test from this time.