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UPDATE 1-UK in talks with Palantir over COVID-19 test-and-trace program - FT

(Adds details from FT report, background)

Nov 3 (Reuters) - The British government is in talks with U.S. data analytics company Palantir Technologies Inc in an attempt to strengthen its test-and-trace program for COVID-19, the Financial Times reported on Tuesday.

Officials have been in talks with the tech company about using its Foundry software to manage sensitive contact tracing data, the FT reported on.ft.com/3oNU121, citing people familiar with the matter.

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson promised a “world-beating” national test-and-trace system earlier this year, whereby people with COVID-19 symptoms get tested and the contacts of positive cases are asked to self-isolate.

But the scheme has disappointed and the government’s scientific advisory body said last month its impact on virus transmission was marginal.

Under the contract being discussed, the new modeling will potentially allow to track the spread of the disease through particular sectors or parts of the country, according to the FT report.

Palantir and Britain’s Health Department did not immediately respond to Reuters’ requests for comment. (Reporting by Rebekah Mathew in Bengaluru; Editing by Maju Samuel)

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