Apparently, if someone has symptons of CV they should alert the health service and get tested. For a positive test (let's not get into test delays here, that's a different story) that person will then be contacted by a (mostly) inexperienced person to ask if they have been 'in contact' with others since two days before their symptons.
'In contact' is defined by being less than 2m away from someone for 15 minutes or more. But under current rules, nobody can ever be in that situation, unless:
- they are already in a shared household, in which case contact-tracing staff aren't needed;
they are in a public transport environment, in which case they won't know the names of the people they are in contact with (although I admit, the delayed smartphone app may help with this);
they are working with someone in a factory etc, in which case (as with households) external contact tracing insn't necessary.
they are already breaking the law, in which case they won't admit it to the contact tracer;
It might make more sense if the system was introduced alongside a big reduction in lockdown rules, e.g. cafes and pubs re-opening. But the management of these (shops as well) will be busy working out how to keep the current 2 metre rule, in whch case again very few peope are ever going to be defined as 'in contact'.
So what is the point? Maybe practice for the far-off days when social distancing can be abolished for most people. But in the meantime these 25,000 tracers will not be able to find anyone to advise, so they won't get much practice.
Very happy for someone here to put me right on this!