THE West Midlands and Warwickshire region has welcomed becoming a pilot area in developing a ‘track and trace’ system to contain coronavirus as lockdown eases.
The rapid expansion of testing and tracing people who have been in contact with those with symptoms is seen as vital to preventing a second wave of Covid-19.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson last week pledged the UK would be leading the way on test, track and trace by the end of this month, in response to further criticism of being slow to respond by opposition leader Sir Keir Starmer.
Measures include hiring thousands of people as contact tracers, and rolling out an NHS app which does the job for people downloading it.
The measure was announced as one of three key priorities for the West Midlands Combined Authority on Wednesday at its first coronavirus ‘regional impact’ summit meeting yesterday.
Now it has welcomed an announcement on Friday that the government has given the go-ahead to the region.
Andy Street, the Mayor of the West Midlands, said: “Track and trace is going to be absolutely pivotal to the West Midlands as we look to move to the next phase of this pandemic, and I am pleased that it has been confirmed the West Midlands will be among the first regions to role this system out, with a pilot taking place in Coventry, Solihull, and Warwickshire.
“With the rate of new infections currently very low in the West Midlands – just 53 new cases were confirmed yesterday – now is the perfect time to use track and trace in the region to suppress Coronavirus one case by one case.
“Not only will having an effective system like this in place allow more businesses to return, but it will also give people confidence to start returning to some form of pre-Coronavirus normality. Both will be absolutely critical when it comes to re-booting the economy and getting people back into work.”