Local authorities will be central to supporting the new test and trace service across England, with the government providing a new funding package of £300m.
Each local authority will be given funding to develop tailored outbreak control plans, working with local NHS and other stakeholders.
Work on the plans will start immediately. Their plans will focus on identifying and containing potential outbreaks in places such as workplaces, housing complexes, care homes and schools.
As part of this work, local authorities will also need to ensure testing capacity is deployed effectively to high-risk locations. Local authorities will work closely with the test and trace service, local NHS and other partners to achieve this.
Data on the virus’s spread will be shared with local authorities through the Joint Biosecurity Centre to inform local outbreak planning, so teams understand how the virus is moving, working with national government where necessary to access the testing and tracing capabilities of the new service.
Local communities, organisations and individuals will also be encouraged to follow government guidance and assist those self-isolating in their area who need help. This will include encouraging neighbours to offer support and identifying and working with relevant community groups.
Minister for Patient Safety, Suicide Prevention and Mental Health, Nadine Dorries, said: “Local authorities will be vital in the effort to contain COVID-19 at a community level. The pandemic requires a national effort but that will only be effective as a result of local authorities, working hand in hand with Public Health England and contact tracers to focus on the containment of local outbreaks, in order to control the transmission and the spread of the virus.
“For contact tracing to be effective when it is rolled out, we will need people to continue to follow guidelines and stay at home if they have symptoms.”