LONDON (Reuters) – Britain reported 12,330 new cases of COVID-19 on Monday, up from 12,155 the day before and bringing the cumulative total since the start of the pandemic to 1,629,657, government data show.
A total of 205 new deaths from the disease were also reported, down from 215 the previous day. Great Britain had the highest total death toll in Europe at 58,448.
Reporting by Estelle Shirbon; edited by Costas Pitas
(Reuters) – More than 1,300 people in Britain were told inaccurately they had the coronavirus after a laboratory error in the government’s NHS Test and Trace system, the Department of Health and Social Care told Reuters on Saturday.
“NHS Test and Trace has contacted 1,311 people who were falsely told that the results of the COVID-19 test, which were taken between November 19 and November 23, had turned out to be positive. A problem with a batch of test chemicals means their test results are not valid, “a department spokesman said in an emailed statement.
“Rapid action has been taken to notify those affected and they have been asked to take more tests, and to continue to self-isolate if they have symptoms.”
The laboratory error that caused the problem was an “isolated incident” and is being investigated, the statement said.
The government has announced an additional 7 billion pounds ($ 9.31 billion) for COVID-19 testing and contact tracing systems as part of an expanded mass testing program.
The NHS Test and Trace system has been heavily criticized after a series of major failures since it was launched earlier this year, and ministers admit that the system is not performing as well as they had hoped.
In September, nearly 16,000 positive case records disappeared from the system over several days – causing contact tracing delays. The government blames a “legacy” file system for cutting records after about 65,000 lines of data.
Reuters analysis and interviews with contact tracers have shown problems with the system, and when looking at non-household contacts, the proportion that were successfully traced was lower.
Britain has about 1.6 million coronavirus cases and more than 57,500 deaths, according to a Reuters tally tmsnrt.rs/3cBeEYg.
($ 1 = 0.7517 pounds)
Reporting by Kanishka Singh in Bengaluru; Edited by Mike Harrison
ZURICH (Reuters) – Swiss ski resorts can remain open for now as long as they have strict security measures in place to limit the spread of the coronavirus, Health Minister Alain Berset said Thursday.
Neighbors France, Italy, Austria and Germany have all ordered even upland lifts that could operate earlier this winter to remain closed in the hope that all resorts can reap the benefits in peak season, if and when infection rates slow down.
“In Switzerland the situation is much easier, one can still ski, that’s always the goal. Obviously with respect to very strict measures, we have to have a plan of protection and everything has to be clear, “Berset told a news conference in Bern.
He’s left the door open to changing policies if conditions change later in the year, when a two-week holiday period lures many winter sports fans to the slopes.
“The situation remains very serious and very unstable … and we have not yet decided how it will be in the future,” said Berset, adding Bern was in close contact with his neighbor and Swiss territory.
He acknowledged tensions would arise if the Swiss resorts were the only open resorts. “We have to discuss this with the cantons but we are a sovereign country and can decide for ourselves what facts are in our region,” he added.
Switzerland has adopted a “middle ground” to curb a pandemic that has infected more than 300,000 and killed 4,109 here, leaving the country largely open for business while urging people to keep their distance and embrace proper hygiene.
Berset said Switzerland could get its first limited supply of the COVID-19 vaccine by the end of January if all goes well. It will not force people to get the vaccine, which it plans to distribute to patients free of charge.
Switzerland has signed vaccine contracts with Moderna and AstraZeneca and reserves doses from Pfizer upon completion of the contract.
Reporting by Michael Shields; editing by Stephanie Nebehay and Barbara Lewis