Asymptomatic transmission of Covid 19

The request was successful.

Dear Public Health England,
Please supply copies of any and all papers, studies & documents in your possession (whether authored by yourselves or merely in your possession for reference purposes) & internal and external emails, relating to the potential (or otherwise) for, & discussing, asymptomatic transmission of SARS-COV2 and other Coronaviruses.

Yours faithfully,
Martin Murray

FOI, Public Health England

OFFICIAL
Dear Martin Murray,

We acknowledge receipt of your email and request for information, which will be treated as a request for information under statutory access legislation.

Please note that requests under the Freedom of Information Act and the Environmental Information Regulations (EIRs) will receive a response within 20 working days from the day following the date of receipt of your request.

If the request is for your personal data, your request has been handled as a data subject access request (SAR) under Article 15 of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), then we will respond within one month of the receipt of the request.

Public Health England (PHE) is responsible for providing guidance and advice to government and front-line services for all aspects of public health. It is a designated Category 1 responder organisation under the Civil Contingency Act and this specifically includes the COVID-19 response, providing clinical expertise and wider public health advice and guidance across national and local government, the NHS and third sector. As such, you may experience delays when making statutory information access requests during the pandemic.

We will aim to address all requests promptly and within the required response timeframes. However when we are unable to meet the response timeframe we will keep requesters updated on a revised expected timescale for a response to their request. The Information Commissioner recognises this position in its recent guidance, see link: https://ico.org.uk/for-organisations/dat...

Kind Regards,

Public Accountability Unit
Public Health England
[PHE request email]
Tel: 020 8327 6920
www.gov.uk/phe Follow us on Twitter @PHE uk

show quoted sections

FOI, Public Health England

OFFICIAL
Dear Martin Murray,

Your request for information is too broad in scope and our initial assessment of the searches that need to be carried out indicate that to determine whether we hold the information, retrieve and extract the information to respond to your request as it stands would exceed the cost limit of £600.

The cost limit is calculated at a staff rate time at £25 per person per hour working for 24 hours to respond to the request. Therefore, the information is exempt in accordance with Section 12 – exemption where cost of compliance exceeds appropriate limit - of the Freedom Of Information (FOI) Act.

Under our Section 16 duty to provide advice and assistance, could you please narrow your request with respect to the type of information requested.

We will process your request, once we receive clarification from you.

Kind Regards,

FOI Team
Public Accountability Unit
Public Health England
[PHE request email]
Tel: 020 8327 6920
www.gov.uk/phe Follow us on Twitter @PHE uk

show quoted sections

FOI, Public Health England

Dear Martin Murray

Further to the below, we are seeking clarification on the below request. If you wish to narrow the scope of the request, we will continue to process. If we have not received a response by 23 September 2020, we will close this case reference.

Kind Regards
FOI Team
Public Accountability Unit
Public Health England
[PHE request email]
www.gov.uk/phe Follow us on Twitter @PHE uk

show quoted sections

Dear FOI team, apologies for the delay in getting back to you. Could I ask for assistance please in narrowing the scope as per the guidance given by the ICO :-
"Where a public authority claims that section 12 is engaged, it should, where reasonable, provide advice and assistance to help the requestor to refine the request so that it can be dealt with under the appropriate limit."

If a telephone conversation or video (or indeed face to face) conference would be useful to achieve this I will endeavour to free up some time, in the meantime I will monitor this medium daily for your response. Apologies again for my delay.

Yours sincerely,

Martin Murray

Dear PHE FOI team, as I have not yet received a reply to my request for assistance, and mindful of your requested deadline, I have refined the scope as below.

Refined scope:-
Please supply copies of any and all papers, studies & documents in your possession (whether authored by yourselves or merely in your possession for reference purposes) & internal and external emails, relating to the potential (or otherwise) for, & discussing, asymptomatic transmission of SARS-COV2.

For clarity, I have removed 'other coronaviruses' from the scope of the original search request, in the assumption that since SARS COV2 has only been circulating recently, this would narrow the search sufficiently to meet the criteria. Thank you in advance.

Yours sincerely,

Martin Murray

Dear PHE FOI team, as your response has been delayed I would like to politely remind you that by law you should have responded promptly by 20th October 2020.

Yours sincerely,

Martin Murray

Dear Public Health England FOI team- Please pass this on to the person who conducts Freedom of Information reviews. I am writing to request an internal review of Public Health England's handling of my FOI request 'Asymptomatic transmission of Covid 19'.

I put the original request in late August this year, in what I thought would be a speedy reply process as surely this information would have been collated and readily available (it would have surely been used as supporting evidence for the legislation introduced this year, as well guiding the response of government departments and agencies to the Covid situation). I was asked to refine the scope (with a deadline of 23rd September, which unfortunately, & with apologies, I did not see until the 18th September)- so on the 18th September requested some assistance in refining the scope. In the absence of a reply, and mindful of the deadline, I refined the scope as requested. My complaint here is twofold- 1/ that I have had no response at all after my refining of the scope, & 2/ That you have not provided information in what should be a fairly straightforward request (as per the reasons given above).

A full history of my FOI request and all correspondence is available on the Internet at this address: https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/a...

Thank you for your attention to this matter.

Yours faithfully,

Martin Murray

Martin Murray left an annotation ()

There still has been no response to either my original request or my request for an internal review, therefore the complaint process has been started with the ICO, 3/12/20.

Martin Murray left an annotation ()

In the meantime, this may help - a study showing that in asymptomatic cases there was NO evidence of significant onward transmission, the rate was 0.7 for AT cases, and 18% in symptomatic, and this was within households in close contact:- https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamanet...

FOI, Public Health England

1 Attachment

  • Attachment

    1068 FOI Papers studies documents and emails on asymptomatic transmission.pdf

    119K Download View as HTML

OFFICIAL
Dear Martin Murray,

Please find attached Public Health England's response to your request.

I apologise for the delay in our response.

FOI Team
Public Accountability Unit
Public Health England
[PHE request email]
Tel: 020 8327 6920
www.gov.uk/phe Follow us on Twitter @PHE uk

show quoted sections

FOI, Public Health England

2 Attachments

  • Attachment

    1744 IR Linked to 1068 Papers studies documents and emails on asymptomatic transmission.pdf

    100K Download View as HTML

  • Attachment

    Freedom of Information request Asymptomatic transmission of Covid 19.txt

    2K Download View as HTML

OFFICIAL
Dear Martin Murray,

Please find attached Public Health England's response to your request.

I apologise for the delay in our response.

FOI Team
Public Accountability Unit
Public Health England
[PHE request email]
Tel: 020 8327 6920
www.gov.uk/phe Follow us on Twitter @PHE uk

show quoted sections