The latest data shows 89,874 new people tested positive for Covid-19 in England in the week to October 7 – a 64 per cent rise in positive cases on the previous seven days. It is the highest weekly number since Test and Trace was launched at the end of May.

When it comes to turnaround times for test results, there has been a slight week-on-week improvement.

Some 32.6 per cent of people who were tested for Covid-19 in England at a regional site, local site or mobile testing unit – an in-person test – in the week ending October 7 received their result within 24 hours. However, the turnaround times for home testing kits and at satellite testing centres have slipped.

Saffron Cordery, the deputy chief executive of NHS Providers, which represents hospital bosses, said: “It’s deeply unfortunate that at this point, with infections rising, admissions increasing and winter looming, there’s still clearly a long way to go until our Test and Trace system is fit for purpose.

“It is good to see a high proportion of positive cases transferred into the system, but this must be done in a timely manner, and success also depends on reaching them and their contacts and then compliance with the need to self-isolate.”

The health minister Lord Bethell said: “The country is working together at unprecedented pace and scale to increase capacity and make sure everyone who should have a test can get one.

“Since the service launched, NHS Test and Trace has now reached over 900,000 people, and 8.3 million people have been tested at least once. This is a fantastic achievement by everyone involved in the system, of which they should be rightly proud.”

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