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UK wastes $51b on Covid tracing: Report

Published : Thursday, 28 October, 2021 at 12:00 AM  Count : 360

LONDON, Oct 27: The UK government largely wasted a mammoth £37 billion ($51 billion, 44 billion euros) on a test and trace programme that failed to control the spread of Covid-19 last year, a report by lawmakers said Wednesday.
The government and its inexperienced head for the programme, Dido Harding, displayed "gung-ho confidence", the chair of the House of Commons public accounts committee said.
"But in the end it massively over-promised for what it delivered and it was eye-watering sums of money," Meg Hillier, of the opposition Labour party, told BBC radio.
"That is one of the biggest concerns -- it is almost as if the taxpayer was an ATM machine. That lack of regard for taxpayer funding is a real concern for us as a committee," she said.
When the pandemic erupted early last year, Britain tried to build from scratch a mass programme to test for new cases and trace infected people.
But its caseload soon exploded and the country now has the second-highest death toll in Europe, behind Russia.    -AFP

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