Over 1,300 people in Britain were inaccurately informed they were infected with coronavirus after a laboratory error at the government's NHS Test and Trace system, the Department of Health and Social Care admitted on Saturday to Reuters.
NHS Test and Trace has contacted 1,311 individuals who were incorrectly told that the result of Covid-19 tests, taken between Nov 19 and Nov 23, were positive. An issue with a batch of testing chemicals meant their test results were void, a department spokesman said in an e-mailed statement.
Swift action was taken to notify those affected and they have been asked to take another test, and to continue to self-isolate if they have symptoms. The laboratory error that led to the problem was an isolated incident and was being investigated, the statement said.
The government has announced an extra £7 billion for its Covid-19 testing and contact tracing system as part of an expanded program of mass testing.
The NHS Test and Trace system has been heavily criticized after a series of high-profile failures since its launch earlier this year, and ministers concede it has not performed as well as they had hoped.
In September, nearly 16,000 positive case records were lost from the system for several days - causing a delay in contact tracing. The government blamed a legacy file system that cut off records after about 65,000 rows of data.