England launches new test and trace system amid government trust questions

England brought in a new test and trace system on Thursday (May 28) aimed at easing lockdown measures that have brought life to a standstill in recent months.

Contacts of those who test positive for COVID-19 will be asked to isolate for 14 days, even if they have no symptoms.

UK Health Secretary Matt Hancock says he trusts the public to abide by the voluntary guidelines.

“The more they follow the instructions from the NHS, the safer we'll all be and the easier we'll be able to lift the broader lockdown measures - and I think that is a huge motivation for people to do the right thing. And I think the vast majority of people will."

Trust is a difficult issue for the government at the moment though - ministers including Hancock have backed a senior advisor to the prime minister who drove a long distance with his family during lockdown.

The UK government is recruiting a task force of 40,000 to operate the tracing service, to test those with symptoms, identify who they’ve been in contact with and inform them.

Hancock also stressed there is now enough capacity for all who need tests to get them.

The rest of the UK has similar programs about to launch or already running.

Britain is poised to start reopening non-essential retail shops and schools, and could possibly allow more social contact soon for millions of people who have been mostly stuck at home since March.