The new NHS Test and Trace service “will help identify, contain and control coronavirus, reduce the spread of the virus and save lives,” a government statement said.
According to the new system, “anyone who tests positive for coronavirus will be contacted by NHS Test and Trace and will need to share information about their recent interactions.”
“This could include household members, people with whom they have been in direct contact, or within 2 metres for more than 15 minutes.”
Those who are 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.”
Health and Social Care Secretary Matt Hancock said the government “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,” he said.
“This new system will help us keep this virus under control while carefully and safely lifting the lockdown nationally,” he added.
The new test and trace service will have the “capacity to trace the contacts of 10,000 people who test positive for coronavirus per day and can be scaled up if needed.”
The Department of Health tweeted on Wednesday that there have been 3,798,490 tests in the UK so far and 267,240 people have tested positive.
The UK death toll, highest in Europe and second highest across the globe, stands at 37,460, according to official figures.