Coronavirus latest news: Government to launch test and trace programme tomorrow

Verity Bowman

The new NHS coronavirus test and trace programme will launch across England from tomorrow, the Government has announced.

The programme is designed to let people know if they have been in close contact with someone who later reports positive for Covid-19 and could be a key to easing up social distancing measures.

Health and Social Care Secretary Matt Hancock said: "As we move to the next stage of our fight against coronavirus, we will be able to replace national lockdowns with individual isolation and, if necessary, local action where there are outbreaks.

"NHS Test and Trace will be vital to stopping the spread of the virus. It is how we will be able to protect our friends and family from infection, and protect our NHS. 

"This new system will help us keep this virus under control while carefully and safely lifting the lockdown nationally."

From Thursday, anyone who tests positive for coronavirus will be contacted by NHS Test and Trace and will need to share information about their recent interactions. 

People identified as having been in close contact with someone who has a positive test must stay at home for 14 days, even if they do not have symptoms, to stop unknowingly spreading the virus. 

Follow the latest updates below.