Outsourcing firms miss 46% of Covid contacts in England’s worst-hit areas

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Serco and Sitel paid £200m to test and trace, but reach just over half of infected people’s contacts in some regions

Outsourcing companies leading the government’s flagship test-and-trace system have failed to reach nearly half of potentially exposed people in areas with the highest Covid infection rates in England, official figures show.

In the country’s 20 worst-hit areas, Serco and Sitel – paid £200m between them – reached only 54% of people who had been in close proximity to an infected person, meaning more than 21,000 exposed people were not contacted.

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