England’s contact tracers ‘making handful of calls’ a month

Agents report ringing numbers that don’t exist and occupying time with barbecues and quizzes

It was hailed as a “world-beating” service by prime minister Boris Johnson at its launch, but three months on and contract tracers hired to work on England’s test-and-trace system say they are making only a handful of calls every month and are occupying their time with barbecues and quizzes.

Agents told the Guardian they were often calling people who had already been spoken to by another contact tracer, and making calls to numbers that did not exist or that went straight through to voicemail.

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