Test and Trace only contacted Wigan coronavirus sufferer nine days after diagnosis

A Wigan school worker who caught Covid-19 has told how Test and Trace only contacted him nine days after diagnosis.

By Joseph Timan
Wednesday, 7th October 2020, 8:00 am
Updated Wednesday, 7th October 2020, 8:18 am
The new Test and Trace app was hit by a major IT problem in late September
The new Test and Trace app was hit by a major IT problem in late September

Scott Walker was one of 16,000 patients who fell victim to an IT glitch last week which meant anyone with whom they came into contact shortly before they fell ill were not rapidly notified by the new Public Health England app and told to self-isolate.

And the same happened to the 25-year-old pastoral worker himself.

But he said that as soon as he received his results he notified fellow staff, having already confined himself to home when symptoms first emerged.

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Ayman and Sally Fazeli

Mr Walker was tested on September 19 after he began to feel ill. But it was more than a week later that he got a call.

He said: “The speaker said they were from Test and Trace and asked if I had any questions.

“At that point, I told them that I had only one day left of isolating.”

But Mr Walker said that he had quickly encouraged relevant staff to isolate once he informed them of his positive test.

“Nobody should have been exposed as I took it upon myself to notify the relevant people and conduct my own test and trace in a way,” he said.

“Had I not been aware of the rules from working in a school, people may have been exposed due go the lateness of their call.”

Pregnant Sally Fazeli, from Preston, found herself in the same position just as her own period of self-isolation was ending.

Her husband, Ayman Fazeli, said: “They said on the call, ironically, they knew she was in the vulnerable category by way of being pregnant and that they wanted to get in touch with her as soon as they could.”

Mrs Fazeli, 33, first experienced symptoms – a cough and a fever – on September 19, had a test the following day and received notification of the positive result on September 21.

In that message she was told to isolate for 10 days from the point when the symptoms first appeared.

But she did not receive a call from Test and Trace until September 28 – nine days into the 10-day self-isolation period.

Mrs Fazeli, who is 20 weeks pregnant, said: “They said ‘Have you managed to get the help and support you needed?’

“I was like ‘Luckily my mum isn’t too far away so she was able to get us some things’ because we ran out of the essentials, and both of us couldn’t go food shopping or leave the house.

“He said because I was in the vulnerable category I would have been able to access more support in that area, which I didn’t know … I was like ‘I guess it doesn’t even matter now anyway’.”

As one of his wife’s contacts, Mr Fazeli – who, along with the couple’s two children, tested negative – then received a call himself on October 1.

He said: “It was all a bit ‘after the horse had bolted’ kind of thing – so not exactly impressive.”

He added: “I watched that Panorama thing last week when it had contact tracers saying they’re champing at the bit to help, and they’re sat there twiddling their thumbs, waiting to be assigned cases to call – it doesn’t seem to stack up.”

The Test and Trace programme has faced numerous problems in recent weeks, with many people unable to get tests or forced to travel long distances to receive them.

It was then revealed that an error at Public Health England meant 16,000 coronavirus patients had not been traced.

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