OFFICIALS are mobilising an army of 25,000 trackers whose job will be to find and alert Brits who may have caught coronavirus.
A "test, track and trace" programme is considered a route to easing current lockdown measures while still containing the spread of Covid-19.
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What are contact tracers?
Contact tracers aim to reduce transmission by identifying and alerting people who may have been exposed to the virus so that they can protect themselves and others around them.
The Government is pursuing a two-pronged approach – an app which tracks contact between users and a team of manual contact tracers.
On May 10, Health Secretary Matt Hancock said 18,000 people were being recruited to help with contact tracing.
Of those, some 3,000 are qualified public health and clinical professionals, and the remaining 15,000 are call handlers.
It is understood that discussions are underway about call handlers being outsourced to private operators, including Serco.
On May 27, Hancock unveiled the Government’s new NHS Test and Trace system at the Downing Street press briefing, with the scheme starting from 9am on May 28.
Can I apply to become a contact tracer?
Yes, you can still join the virtual frontline as a clinical contact caseworker by applying directly to the NHS website.
You can also apply on job sites such as Indeed and CV library, as well as LinkedIn, who began listing the advertisements from third-party recruiter07.
Postings are also being advertised by independent recruiters and can be found with a Google search “contact tracer jobs”.
However, on Sunday, May 17, Michael Gove said the scheme had recruited "just over 17,000" people.
What training do contact tracers get?
Full training in the role is provided.
Call handlers will be provided with scripts by Public Health England (PHE) to handle more straightforward cases, while the team of clinicians will be on hand for more complex conversations.
It is not known how many contact tracers have been recruited so far, but jobs were still being advertised as the scheme launched on May 28.
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Are there any risks in the job?
None at all.
Applicants will be required to work from home and need to be "patient, caring and have the ability to handle difficult situations".
It adds: "You will have the responsibility of contacting the general public who will need advice and the best course of action for themselves, family or friends."
Are contact tracers paid?
The compensation for the job is £9.42 per hour, which is slightly higher than the national minimum wage.
Out of the 18,000 soon-to-be-recruited contact tracers, 3,000 will be from a skilled background, working as advisers for the more complex cases as well as conducting public health risk assessments.
Such roles are also being advertised with the title of “Clinical Contact Caseworker”, asking skilled professionals to join the "virtual frontline”.
These roles pay a salary of £16.97 to £27.15 per hour and requires applicants to be on a Clinician Band six level or above.
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