People are now travelling an average of 1.9 miles for a PCR COVID check in England, according to NHS Test and Trace.
It comes as the NHS COVID-19 app was updated with the ability to tell people if there was a variant of concern in their postcode, and whether they could get surge testing.
Data released today shows that most people – 96.1% – who got tested at either a local, regional or mobile centre during the week of 4 February to 10 February received their results the next day.
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This is slightly down on 97.6% the week before.
For people using home coronavirus test kits, the average response time in the latest figures stood at 35 hours.
It comes after Rupert Soames, the chief executive of outsourcing giant Serco, told Sky News that NHS Test and Trace was “now working really, really well” after having taken “some time to settle down”.
Serco was involved in the much-criticised system from its launch, which Mr Soames said they had been “plunged straight into” – while saying things had now had “time to settle down”.
It has been beset by problems including the slow ramping up of capacity and contact tracers being unable to contact people, while there was also anger over the original government-built app, which was axed.
There was further outrage over English-only services, people being sent to testing centres that did not exist, a failure to add 16,000 cases due to an overfull Excel spreadsheet and false positives.
For the week from 4 February to 10 February, NHS Test and Trace tested 2.9 million people according to the newly released figures.
The service managed to get in touch with 86.9% of people who tested positive, and 93.6% of their contacts.
A total of 90.1% of contacts identified were spoken to within three days.
In all, NHS Test and Trace reached out to more than 270,00 people.
Health Minister Lord James Bethell said: “This week NHS Test and Trace has reached 86.9% positive cases and 93.6% contacts of those cases, leading to 270,865 people being told to isolate.
“Week after week these results continue to have a significant impact and, through the service’s consistent performances we are seeing that our efforts are helping to halt the spread of the virus.”
As of Tuesday, more than 79 million tests have been carried out across the UK since testing began.
Almost 22.3 million people have had at least one test since NHS Test and Trace was launched in England – roughly a third of the population.
Lord Bethell added: “The number of rapid tests conducted across the country has continued to increase, ensuring NHS Test and Trace can identify people who are infectious, but not showing symptoms.
“Around one in three people with COVID-19 are asymptomatic which means every positive rapid test helps us break a chain of transmission we wouldn’t have otherwise identified.
“We must ensure the service continues to evolve in order to continue breaking these links in the chain.”
Head of NHS Test and Trace Baroness Dido Harding said: “NHS Test and Trace has maintained a strong start to the year and is delivering consistent outputs to ensure the service continues to reach a high proportion of cases and contacts quickly and conveniently.
“The continued development of the service has been crucial to achieving this.
“I am incredibly grateful to everyone involved in NHS Test and Trace who are working non-stop to help us combat the spread of the virus.”
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