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Everyone must play their part in test and trace, says Suffolk public health chief

PUBLISHED: 07:30 29 May 2020 | UPDATED: 08:45 29 May 2020

Stuart Keeble, director of public health for Suffolk Picture: SUFFOLK COUNTY COUNCIL

Stuart Keeble, director of public health for Suffolk Picture: SUFFOLK COUNTY COUNCIL

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Public health chiefs in Suffolk say they want to support communities to ensure as many people as possible are involved in the new ‘test and trace’ drive.

Under the plans, anyone with coronavirus symptoms will immediately self-isolate and book a test, preferably at a testing centre or, if necessary, for delivery to their home, and their household should start a 14-day isolation period too Picture:  DANNY LAWSON/PA WIREUnder the plans, anyone with coronavirus symptoms will immediately self-isolate and book a test, preferably at a testing centre or, if necessary, for delivery to their home, and their household should start a 14-day isolation period too Picture: DANNY LAWSON/PA WIRE

The government’s new programme to tackle Covid-19 was launched yesterday, in a bid to “chase down the virus”.

The system will see more than 20,000 tracers work alongside a new app to track those who have been in close contact with people who have tested positive for the virus.

MORE: How will the new test and trace app work?

However, concerns have been raised over the new app, which has recently been piloted on the Isle of Wight.

Jo Reeder, fundraising and marketing manager for Age UK Suffolk, says that many elderly people in Suffolk will not have access to the technology needed, or will not know how to use the app.

However, health bosses have been keen to ease concerns, stating the app is only a part of a system which will allow people to get in touch via phone as well.

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Stuart Keeble, director of public health at Suffolk County Council said: “I think there is a recognition that the government need to enable people to do this through a number different routes.

“It’s true that some people will need more support, those that struggle with the guidance, maybe with language issues or with learning disabilities.

“Everybody in Suffolk has a role to play in this test and trace.

“We all need to be working together and we really want to work with communities to help them support people who are going through this process.

“The track and trace will be a key tool in our tool box so we can live in a way that we are more used to.”

However Ms Reeder said that the lack of input from Suffolk’s elderly generation may mean the track and trace programme will not function properly.

She said: “The app could end up excluding a vital amount of data that needs to be tracked really.

“From the conversations we have been having with people there are a lot of concerns.”

The new programme will be used anonymously, and those who have been in contact with a coronavirus sufferer will not be told who is unwell.


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