JUST two thirds of close coronavirus contacts in Dorset had been contacted by the government’s test and trace system.

Now the the under fire system has been described as “farcical” and there are calls for it to to stepped up.

Data from the Department for Health and Social care shows 149 people who tested positive for Covid-19 in Dorset were transferred to the test and trace service between May 28 and September 9.

Coronavirus patients reached by the service are urged to give details for anyone they were in close contact with, the NHS says.

A further 574 close contacts were identified in this way in Dorset meaning they could be dealt with through a call centre or online.

But the figures reveal just 65 per cent of those were reached by contact tracers over the period, meaning 199 people did not acknowledge they also needed to self-isolate.

Councillor Lesley Dedman, portfolio holder for adults and health at BCP Council, said: “My real feeling is the test and trace has been totally farcical.

“It is not working, that’s all I can say about it. I think that everybody involved is working as hard as they can but it has not pulled together.

“I don’t think it is a cohesive system.”

Meanwhile, MP for Poole, Sir Robert Syms said it was “disappointing” only two thirds were contacted.

“It’s disappointing because there aren’t many infected in Dorset so it can’t be difficult.

“The government are doing all they can to improve things. Anything they do will still stop some of the spread.”

Across England 64 per cent of non-complex close contacts were reached and told to self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace in the latest week to September 9.

Saffron Cordery, chief executive of NHS Providers, said this falls “well short” of SAGE’s 80 per cent target.

She said: “Trust leaders are increasingly concerned with the current testing shortages impacting on NHS service recovery and winter preparations due to staff and their family members being unable to access a test.

“Additionally, with the number of positive Covid-19 cases increasing, but a reduction in the proportion being contact traced, we are looking at renewed pressure on the NHS.”

Baroness Dido Harding, who heads up the test and trace service, admitted last week that demand for tests was outstripping capacity but denied claims that the system was “failing”.