Tag Archive : England

/ England

LONDON — An epic fail of a simple computer program “lost” nearly 16,000 coronavirus cases in England for more than a week, British public health officials said.

Everyone who tested positive was informed. But the cases were left out of the daily totals between Sept. 25 and Friday and ignored by contact tracers during that time. Given the average number of in-person contacts, that means as many as 50,000 people may have been exposed without being called about it.

By Monday morning, only half of the 16,000 who tested positive had gotten a contact tracing call. The other half “should be contacted as soon as possible,” said Health Secretary Matt Hancock, who was excoriated in the House of Commons by lawmakers.

Commuters at London’s Waterloo Station on Sept. 24 after Britain’s Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced a range of new restrictions to combat the rise in coronavirus cases in England.

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The glitch was no mere rounding error in the government’s accounting, but another serious stumble at a crucial moment, when the British government is daily trying to decide where to tighten regional lockdowns to slow a second wave of the virus.

After the error was spotted and the lost cases accounted for, the government’s report of new daily infections nearly doubled — from 12,872 on Saturday to 22,961 on Sunday — sparking renewed angst among officials in London and England’s north, where most of the new cases were centered.

Michael Brodie, the interim head of Public Health England, said the issue was identified late Friday in the computer process that communicates positive results from labs to the country’s reporting dashboards. Some data files containing positive results had exceeded the maximum file size, he said, according to the BBC.

“We fully understand the concern this may cause,” Brodie added, “and further

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The accuracy of convictions stored on the Police National Computer (PNC) has been questioned after the courts service apologised when two offences were wrongly recorded against a defendant.



Photograph: Jonathan Brady/PA


© Provided by The Guardian
Photograph: Jonathan Brady/PA

The error led to a woman who had not at that stage been tried gaining a criminal record for offences relating to a violent crime she denied, and took three months for her lawyers to correct. It was dismissed by HM Courts and Tribunal Service as a “slip”.



a clock tower in the background: The mistakes are understood to have been due to human error when information that updated the PNC was wrongly entered by court staff.


© Photograph: Jonathan Brady/PA
The mistakes are understood to have been due to human error when information that updated the PNC was wrongly entered by court staff.

The case, which recently came to trial, highlights the fact that mistakes can occur in the system that is supposed to be the ultimate authority on criminal records in England and Wales.

A lawyer involved in the case reported

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