COVID test-and-tracers may now knock on people’s doors if they cannot reach them on the phone.
Health officials announced plans for stronger localised powers as thousands of tracers face the sack.
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In pilot schemes, local teams have visited people at home when national contact tracers could not reach them.
It comes after some national tracers only managed to reach a handful of people who came into contact with Covid sufferers.
The Sun revealed some were at home watching Netflix for months on end.
NHS Test and Trace will now provide local authorities across England with a dedicated “ringfenced team”.
Baroness Dido Harding, executive chair of NHS Test and Trace, said the service “must be local by default”.
She added: “We are now offering this integrated localised approach to all local authorities to ensure we can reach more people in their communities and stop the spread of Covid-19.”
James Jamieson, chairman of the Local Government Association, said: “Using councils’ unrivalled local knowledge and vast experience of contact tracing within local public health teams is vital in the Government’s national efforts.”
The Department for Health and Social Care said the national service will drop from 18,000 to 12,000 tracers on August 24.
Non-NHS call handlers are most likely to leave.
Remaining teams will be deployed as local tracers, it added, though staff numbers can be “quickly scaled up”.
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