West Sussex to launch its own track and trace operation

Eight months into the pandemic, West Sussex County Council has announced that it is ready to launch a local track and trace operation.

The announcement was made by Amanda Jupp, cabinet member for adults and health during a meeting of the full council today (Friday November 6).

Mrs Jupp said the council was working with the district and borough councils as well as East Sussex County Council, with support from Public Health England.

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Public Health England has to give the go-ahead to the operation and Mrs Jupp said she was confident things would be in place and would work efficiently when that was received – hopefully before the end of the latest lockdown.

The Government's test and trace app (Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images) SUS-200611-125113001

She added: “This is being introduced to help to ensure that people who have had a positive Covid-19 test are contacted and any individuals they’ve been in contact with can be identified in order to reduce the transmission of the virus.”

Kate O’Kelly (Lib Dem, Midhurst) said she was delighted with the news, adding that it would ‘save lives in West Sussex if we get this right’.

Dr O’Kelly said: “We must get a robust system in place so anyone that the national system misses we pick up – first by phone contact with a local more friendly number, more likely to be answered and trusted, hopefully avoiding the duplication that we hear about in the media.”

She added: “It has been clear from the outset that this is the biggest and gravest mistake the government have made – their instinct to centralise and their lack of trust in local has literally been deadly.

“We must come out of lockdown 2 with the ability to trace every contact in this county – we can then keep numbers down and we can build our economy again and support all our residents who are suffering during this time.

“And critically we must avoid the awful prospect of lockdown 3.”

James Walsh (Lib Dem, Littlehampton East) agreed that the national track and trace had been ‘a disaster from beginning to end’.

He added: “We are eight months into this pandemic and the uptake, the test results and the tracing have been falling in recent weeks rather than increasing.

“I’m delighted that we’re going to at last be allowed to set up a local track and trace.”