People who come into close contact with a coronavirus sufferer will be told to self-isolate for 14 days as the Government launches its tracing system.

NHS Test and Trace – seen as key to easing the restrictions – will be rolled out across England on Thursday with the help of 25,000 contact tracers, while an accompanying app is still delayed by several weeks.

Also on Wednesday, Mr Johnson announced the launch of the contact tracing programme, which will see people with coronavirus having their contacts traced in a bid to cut off routes of transmission for the virus and control local flare-ups.

Under the plans, anyone with coronavirus symptoms will immediately self-isolate and book a test, preferably at a testing centre or, if necessary, for delivery to their home. Their household should start a 14-day isolation period too.

If the test proves negative, everyone comes out of isolation.

But if the test is positive, NHS contact tracers or local public health teams will call, email or send a text asking them to share details of the people they have been in close contact with and places they have visited.

The team then emails or texts those close contacts, telling them they must stay home for 14 days even if they have no symptoms, to avoid unknowingly spreading the virus.

York Press:

The launch comes as:

– The toll of deaths linked to the virus rose to almost 48,000, while at least 188 frontline health and care workers have died after contracting Covid-19.

– Chris Hopson, chief executive of NHS Providers, said it was “good news” the Government has “backed off the claim that it was making last week that we have a world-class test and trace system ready to go from June 1 because we clearly don’t”.

– The Prime Minister said he has asked scientists to review the two-metre social distancing rule to see if it can be reduced in an effort to help public transport and the hospitality sector.

Also on Thursday, the Government’s plans to ease the lockdown will be confirmed in an official review which Downing Street expects will give the all-clear for schools to begin reopening next week.

Downing Street insiders suggested the easing discussed by Cabinet Office Minister Michael Gove was still dependent on the scientific advice, as was the use of private gardens for socialising.

The road map to easing the lockdown contained the possibility one household could form a social “bubble” with one other in a mutual group, but it was understood that term was being quietly dropped.

The PM has said all non-essential shops in England can reopen from June 15 after he closed them with the imposed lockdown on March 23.