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LONDON – England’s government agency responsible for responding to public health emergencies says an error in testing laboratories misreported tens of thousands of Covid-19-positive patients as negative, potentially killing about 20. said to be sexual.

The UK has one of the highest coronavirus death tolls in the world, with more than 177,000 deaths since the pandemic began in 2020.

Many experts say the contact tracing program is far from the “beat the world” system promised by the government.

About 39,000 tests that would have been positive were carried out between September 2nd and October 12th last year at the Imensa lab in central England, according to a UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) study. was erroneously reported as negative.

The source of the error was the incorrect setting of threshold levels for reporting positive and negative PCR sample results for Covid-19, UKHSA said in a report after completing the investigation.

As a result, many people would have continued their daily lives without self-isolating even if they contracted the new coronavirus infection.

UKHSA said the mistake could have led to as many as 55,000 additional infections in areas where false negatives were reported.

Immensa Health Clinic, the private company that runs the lab, was established in May 2020 and won a contract worth £170m (S$280m) to process PCR test results.

Immensa’s owner, Dante Labs, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

“Throughout this investigation, we have carefully examined the arrangements for overseeing contracting of private laboratories to provide surge testing during this period,” said UKHSA Director and Chief Investigator Richard Gleave.

“There was not a single action that NHS Test and Trace could have taken otherwise to prevent this error from occurring in a private laboratory. It provides clear recommendations for mitigating risks.” Reuters Mistake in UK Covid-19 test lab may have killed 20 people

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