HUNDREDS of close contacts of Southampton residents with coronavirus are not being reached through the test and trace system, new figures show.

Data from the Department for Health and Social care shows 608 people who tested positive for Covid-19 in Southampton were transferred to the Test and Trace service between May 28 and October 14.

Contact tracers ask these patients to give details for anyone they were in close contact with in the 48 hours before their symptoms started.

This led to 1,603 close contacts being identified over the period – also referred to as "non-complex" cases, meaning they could be dealt with through a call centre or online.

But just 61.2 per cent were reached, meaning 622 people were not contacted or did not respond.

That was slightly down from the 61.5 per cent reached up to October 7, and below the 63.5 per cent average across the South East as whole.

A Southampton MP has now criticised the Government stating that they "need to do a great deal better".

Caroline Nokes, MP for Romsey and Southampton North said: "I have been really disappointed with the number of individual cases constituents have raised with me regarding test and trace.

"It is clear that a lower than optimum number of contacts are being successfully traced, even when on the face of it there seem to be really easy ways to do so.

"The worst example I have encountered was that of an elderly gentleman who contracted covid and it took 4 days for his family, with whom he lived, to be officially contacted.

"Fortunately in the meantime they had taken it upon themselves to get tested."

She added: "The Government needs to do a great deal better."

Royston Smith, MP for Southampton Itchen, said that the system was "never going to be 100% accurate" adding that it is "improving all the time".

He said: "We live in a country where we ask people to do the right thing. If anyone has symptoms they should book a test and self isolate.

"While I acknowledge our Test and Trace system could be improved we are dealing with many thousands of people and finding all those people was never going to be 100% accurate.

"The system is improving all the time but we must follow the guidance if we are to get this awful virus under control and prevent further lockdowns.”

Across England, 57.6 per cent of non-complex close contacts were reached and told to self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace in the latest week to October 14.

Including complex cases – those linked to settings such as hospitals, schools or prisons – the contact tracing rate was 59.6 per cent, the lowest percentage since test and trace began.