Hello. It looks like you�re using an ad blocker that may prevent our website from working properly. To receive the best Tortoise experience possible, please make sure any blockers are switched off and refresh the page.

If you have any questions or need help, let us know at memberhelp@tortoisemedia.com

A Tortoise File

Test and trace

How test and trace became a national disaster

Test and trace

First published
Thursday 8 October 2020

Last updated
Tuesday 17 November 2020

Why this story?

The serial failures of the test and trace system will never be a footnote in this crisis. In fact, they’re the headline. This is the story of the unbroken series of missteps which have led us to our current predicament.

Britain had an international reputation for pandemic planning – until a global health emergency actually hit.

This week we examine the many mistakes, including the early decision to abandon any attempt at the kind of track and trace system which served other countries well.

A Brexit-tinged inflated idea of Britain’s abilities compounded the poor decision making in government as friends and allies were given essential roles and contracts.

And we make the clear and urgent case for a public inquiry into the UK’s response to the Covid pandemic – to learn lessons, save lives and for the sake of justice. How did the UK’s response go so very badly? 

David Taylor, editor




Editor Dave Taylor

Reporting Matthew d’Ancona, Paul Cuarana Galizia

Graphics Chris Newell