The government’s struggling test and trace system for England was hit by “huge” IT issues that delayed calls to some of the most vulnerable coronavirus patients last month, NHS emails show.
Sources said the previously undisclosed problems led to delays of up to 48 hours in reaching potentially infected people linked to care homes and hospitals.
The government’s scientific advisers have said 80% of an infected person’s close contacts should be reached within 24 hours to stem the spread of the disease.
The IT failure happened in mid-October when the numbers of infections and people in hospital were rising exponentially across large parts of the UK. They will add to concerns that the £12bn system has failed to keep up with the second wave, which it was supposed to help prevent.