UK wouldn’t have coped with coronavirus crisis without help of tech giants, health minister says

The U.K. government has been roundly criticized for its handling of the epidemic given that Britain is among the worst-affected countries in terms of both coronavirus cases and deaths from the disease. According to data from John Hopkins University, the country’s death toll is nearing 50,000, while more than 290,000 Brits have contracted Covid-19.

The government recently launched its Track and Trace program to test patients and identify the people they have recently been in contact with. Such contact tracing systems have been pushed by experts as an effective way of helping contain the spread of the virus. Britain, like other countries, is also testing a contact tracing app, though it hasn’t yet been launched publicly.

“Building the Test and Trace program, that is all underpinned by technology,” Hancock said. “It’s a true public-private effort.”

Critics worry the government’s approach to health deals with third parties could result in a potential privatization of the NHS, the U.K.’s publicly-funded health system.