BRADFORD Council is developing its own local track and trace programme to contact people who can't be contacted through the national scheme.

Teams of local contact tracers will be trained to support the national NHS Test and Trace effort by calling, texting and visiting the homes of people who have tested positive for coronavirus.

They will conduct structured mini interviews with people who have tested positive, designed to identify who they may have come into close contact with and who might need themselves to self-isolate and get tested.

The contact tracers will also provide advice to people who have tested positive on how to keep themselves and others safe by staying at home and self-isolating.

The move is part of a drive to further embed testing and tracing across the district which will also include the testing of people showing no symptoms, doorstep testing and the setting up of more drive-in and walk-in testing stations.

Director of Public Health Sarah Muckle said: “The virus has not gone away and Bradford is one of the places placed on high alert because of the high number of cases we have.

“We know that the key to controlling COVID-19 is breaking the chain of transmission and that the best way to do that is to understand who has the virus and who they might have passed it to.

“Once we know that, we can ask those people to take themselves out of circulation so the virus has nowhere left go.

“A local test and trace programme run by local people supplementing the national NHS Test and Trace programme is absolutely critical to getting on top of COVID-19 and returning to normal life.”

Initially the council will redeploy council workers to staff the programme – but there is the potential for this to be extended to include recent graduates, students with health backgrounds and voluntary organisations.

Full training for the role is being provided by Public Health England and it is hoped the first local tracing teams will be ready to hit the streets by mid-August.