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Campaigners urge government to get test-and-trace in order as new Brazil variant found in UK

CAMPAIGNERS urged the government today to get Britain’s test-and-trace effort in order after cases of the Brazilian variant were found in this country.

Officials have confirmed the discovery of six cases of the new P1 strain — three in England and three in Scotland.

The arrival of the new variant has led to mounting pressure on the government to allow public-health teams to take over contact-tracing work from outsourcing firm Serco.

We Own It campaigns officer Pascale Robinson said: “The Brazil variant of Covid-19 in the UK shows more than ever before why we need an effective contact-tracing system.

“Without properly functioning test-and-trace, we won’t be able to get a grip on transmissions of the virus and we'll see more dangerous and deadly variants travelling through our communities.

“Since taking on the contact-tracing system in England, Serco has demonstrated that it is totally incapable of delivering such a system. 

“It has consistently failed to reach people’s contacts and ask them to self-isolate.

“Meanwhile, local public-health teams have demonstrated that they can deliver. 

“That’s why the government should scrap Serco and put local public-health teams in charge of the system.”

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer argued that the discovery of the Brazilian coronavirus variant in Britain showed that the government had not “secured our borders in the way we should have done.”

Wales First Minister Mark Drakeford said that he had worries about Boris Johnson’s plan for to allow people in England to go on holiday abroad from May.

However, the Prime Minister insisted that the Brazilian variant would not change his road map out of lockdown.

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