THE NUMBER of cases passed onto the NHS Test and Trace system has tripled in the last week.

Details for 561 people who tested positive for covid-19 were passed to the contact tracing system between September 2 and 9, three times the number of cases handed over the week before, at 179.

Despite the surge in new cases, the service became more effective, making contact with 77.5 per cent of positive cases passed to them.

Tracers were able to identify 1,347 close contacts who had been exposed to the virus – three times as many contacts identified between August 26 and September 2.

The system's ability to contact those who had been exposed also saw an increase in effectiveness, with almost three in five of the identified close contacts asked to self-isolate, up from just over half reached the week before.

However, taking the unreached confirmed cases into consideration, just under 45 per cent of those exposed were asked to self-isolate – a far cry from the government's target of 80 per cent.

Since the NHS Test and Trace system was launched, 3,374 residents exposed to the virus have been identified, with just over half of these people – 1,902 – asked to self-isolate for two weeks.