Barnsley Council works on new coronavirus tracing system

Barnsley Council's director of public health has confirmed the authority is working on a new contact tracing system said to be crucial to the next stage of tackling Covid-19.
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Communities and Local Government Secretary Robert Jenrick has said councils across the country will be "important in designing the model".

A contact tracing system could help the UK move out of lockdown, by tracing contact between smartphone users. The duration of the contact and the distance between the phones would then trigger notifications if a user experiences Covid-19 symptoms.

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An app is currently being tested by the NHS on the Isle of Wight, and it is hoped it will be rolled out across the country if the trial proves successful.

Julia BurrowsJulia Burrows
Julia Burrows

Mr Jenrick said the local governments play an “important role” in designing the contact tracing system.

He said: “Local authorities will be asked to contribute staff, some of whom have huge experience to bring to that."

Julia Burrows, director of public health for Barnsley, confirmed the authority is already working alongside the government on the system.

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She said: “We are working with regional and national colleagues on the new contact tracing system as part of the next phase of the response to Covid-19.”

Mr Jenrick said the experience of local authorities was ‘extremely important’ in the development of the system.

He said: “Some challenges will be very particular to certain communities so it is important we do take a nuanced approach.”

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