JUST when you think that the handling of this pandemic couldn’t get any worse, we learn that nearly 16,000 Covid positive cases were "lost" from the system last week. I’m trying to find out exactly how many of these were from Oldham.

The implications of this are incredibly serious. Each case is meant to be contacted by the National Test and Trace programme so that they can self-isolate and stop the spread of the virus.

I understand that these cases have been contacted since this issue arose on September 24.

But the National Test and Trace programme is also meant to get in touch with all the cases’ recent contacts within 48 hours so that they too can self-isolate; without this, asymptomatic people will be unknowingly spreading the virus even further. On this the Government and their private contractors have dramatically failed.

This latest blunder has been called a "glitch" and then an "IT failure" as the tests from the privately run "Lighthouse laboratories" failed to transfer the data from these tests to Public Health England who then report on daily Covid infections.

For me, it is another failure of monumental proportions. I am finding it difficult to show support for a government albeit in a national emergency when they are so grossly incompetent and seem to show absolutely no remorse or ability to learn from their mistakes.

In Oldham the level of Covid infections has remained stubbornly high as we "ate out, to help out", travel more, and go back to school, colleges and universities.

The vast majority of us are doing the right thing, observing the local lockdown restrictions not visiting family or friends outside our household or support bubble, and wearing face masks when we’re in shops or public transport, but when the government are told on a daily basis (including from me) of the need to have a fully operational test, trace and isolate system if they are to contain the virus, and they are failing to get the basics right, it is clear to see where that they are the weakest link is.

I heard from a constituent this weekend whose 15-year-old daughter in her GCSE year was tested but a week later she still hadn’t had her result. Not only had she had been forced to self-isolate just in case, but her mum, who’s a nurse had also had to take this precaution. This is simply not good enough. The government needs to get a grip now.