MPs urge test and trace chief to prove system curbs spread of Covid

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Dido Harding is asked to provide evidence to back claim R number will be cut by 0.6 to 0.8 by end of March

MPs have called on Dido Harding, the head of NHS test and trace, to prove that the system substantially reduces the spread of coronavirus as efforts continue to contain more transmissible variants she claimed no one had seen coming.

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Harding told the Commons science and technology committee on Wednesday that NHS test and trace was on track to reduce R, the reproduction number of the epidemic, by 0.6 to 0.8 at the end of March, an improvement over the 0.3 to 0.6 reduction she said was achieved in October.

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