Yesterday the Government launched a new track and trace service to help identify, contain and control the coronavirus, reduce the spread of the virus and save lives.

The aim of the service is to help return life back to normality, in a way that is safe and protects our NHS and social care. The service will trace the spread of the virus and isolate new infections, and will play a vital role in giving us early warning if the virus is increasing again locally or nationally.

Anyone who has tested positive for Coronavirus will be contacted by the service and asked to supply the details of anyone with whom they have been in direct contact, or within 2 metres for more than 15 minutes.

This information will be used to identify people who may have been unknowingly infected - who will be told to stay at home for 14 days, even if they do not have symptoms. However, members of their household will not have to stay at home unless the person identified becomes symptomatic, at which point they must also self-isolate for 14 days to avoid unknowingly spreading the virus.

If those in isolation develop symptoms, they can book a test at or by calling 119. If they test positive, they must continue to stay at home for seven days or until their symptoms have passed. If they test negative, they must complete the 14-day isolation period.

The Government has employed 24,000 contact tracers, who are able to trace the contacts of 10,000 people who test positive for coronavirus – with the option to scale up if required.

Local authorities are working with the Government to use track and trace in order to develop local outbreak control plans and a £300 million package of funding has been made available to support this work. Plans aim to ensure that testing capacity is effectively deployed, and will focus on identifying and containing potential outbreaks in places such as workplaces, housing complexes, care homes and schools.

The new track and trace service has been made possible thanks to the Government establishing the largest network of diagnostic testing facilities in British history – including three mega laboratories and more than 100 mobile testing units.

The news though this week has been dominated by Dominic Cummings decision to isolate his family in a building on his father’s farm in Durham. I have received hundreds of emails on this, mostly very strongly opposed to his actions. I absolutely understand the strength of feeling as we all have a sense of fair play and pulling together, especially at a time of great sacrifices for many. Rightly those in positions of responsibility must lead by example.

Earlier this week Dominic Cummings gave a frank, detailed account of events, and we will all have formed our own opinions, for me, it was painful viewing. In unprecedented times everyone has to make difficult judgements. He put his 4 year old, disabled child first in exceptional circumstances, which was allowed by the guidelines – as a parent I can sympathise with that. We have then seen his family and home targeted by the media and protesters, whether he is right or wrong, there is no excuse for this.However, the detailed explanation could and should have come sooner.