By Charlie Loran • 05 October 2020 • 19:03
A SHOCKING rise in COVID-19 cases was recorded in Britain today, October , 5, as the Department of Health announced 12,594 more positive tests.
Officials confirmed that the huge number for the day did not include any cases left over from the data blunder from Public Health England over the weekend that saw 16,000 test results from the past week tacked onto Sunday night’s figures.
More than 12,000 new infections emerged from the counting catastrophe which is claimed to be from ‘out-dated’ Excel software.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock had to face the House of Commons this afternoon to explain the ridiculous situation, which he said ‘should never have happened’.
He told MPs an investigation was being carried out into how thousands of cases had vanished from the system.
However, he did not offer an apology, and instead just tried to soothe the situation by insisting the pretty embarrassing mix-up had not changed judgements on local lockdowns or the government’s overall assessment of the outbreak.
Labour mocked the government for ‘failing on the basics’, while Tory MPs weighed in to warn public confidence is being ‘undermined’ and demand the military is brought in to help.
Mr Hancock revealed that he was told on Friday, October 2, that the cases had gone missing, and urgent contact tracing had started on Saturday morning. However, only 51 per cent of the cases had been traced as of this morning.
Mr Hancock continuously laid the blame solely on the ‘legacy’ software system at Public Health England, claiming it was they who are responsible for the utter shambles. He said he had already ordered it to be replaced.
The extraordinary meltdown was caused by an Excel spreadsheet containing lab results reaching its maximum size, and failing to update. Some 15,841 cases between September 25 and October 2 were not uploaded to the government dashboard.
In the middle of a pandemic, you would think something as basic as a spreadsheet could be maintained by the people who we entrust with the power to run the country.
As well as underestimating the scale of the outbreak in the UK, critically the details were not passed to contact tracers, meaning people exposed to the virus were not tracked down. The technical issue has now been resolved by splitting the Excel files into batches, which is something anyone who knows how to use Office software would know to have done in the first place.
An apology for this amateur mistake is certainly called for and perhaps the employment of someone who has experience working with spreadsheets and databases should be a requirement for applicants? It’s just a suggestion of course.
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Manchester born mummy with a two year old diva (2020), living on the Costa del Sol for just short of a decade.
Former chef and restaurateur, holistic health fanatic and lover of long words.
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