ENGLAND’S contact tracing system has slipped backwards after 25% of coronavirus sufferers’ close contacts failed to isolate last week.

During the previous week, the Test and Trace system reached 78% of the people identified as coming into contact with those who had tested positive for coronavirus. 

The latest figures from the Department of Health and Social Care show that the programme also failed to reach nearly 20% of people who tested positive for Covid-19 last week.

Of the 4242 people who tested positive during the period, 81% were reached by the Test and Trace staff.

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The new data does not show if there has been an improvement in tracing contacts in parts of England badly hit by local Covid-19 outbreaks.

Figures obtained by The Independent earlier in July found that across the north west of England, the tracing service was reaching 52% of close contacts.

Since England’s Test and Trace system launched, more than 43,000 people who have tested positive for the virus have had their cases transferred to it.

Of this total, 77.6% have been asked to provide details of recent contacts in the period May 28-July 22.

And more than 184,000 close contacts have been reached and asked to self-isolate – this accounts for 83% of the total number identified as close contacts.