Reports suggest free lateral flow tests could be axed as England told to 'live with' Covid

According to reports from a British newspaper, free lateral flow tests could be canceled as Prime Minister Boris Johnson prepares to “live with the coronavirus”.

A senior UK government source has reportedly reported: The times There could be fewer tests as more reserve capacity can be made available as infections begin to rise. More than £ 6 billion has been spent on mass testing of the lateral flow devices with fast turnaround.

Lateral flow tests are currently made available free of charge to individuals in England and Wales. The Welsh government says the tests used in Wales are part of their UK allocation of rapid test kits paid for by the UK government. The UK government has said the tests are part of their NHS testing and the £ 37 billion funding can be traced over two years. It would have to be seen how the move would affect the people of Wales if the UK government decides to stop offering free trials.

A new system, which the paper says could be unveiled within weeks, could mean free testing is only given in high-risk settings such as nursing homes, hospitals, and schools, and on people with symptoms. It is expected that contact tracing by NHS Test and Trace will also be scaled back.

The source said, “I don’t think we’re in a world where we can continue to give free lateral flow tests to everyone forever. It is likely that we will move to a scenario in which there are fewer tests, but where we have capacity. “

England’s Education Minister Nadhim Zahawi has already supported steps to reduce the isolation time from seven days to five days after a positive Covid test. It was only recently reduced from 10 days to seven, with negative lateral flow tests on days six and seven.

Mr Zahawi said: “The UK Health and Safety Authority (UKHSA) said they want to review so we will be holding on for seven days but if they review and say they are reducing it to five days it will be even better for me . it’s even more helpful. “

Mr Zahawi says the country is “watching the virus transition from pandemic to endemic”.

And now reports suggest that scientists are saying the coronavirus will not go away as Britain tried to “live” with the virus by unblocking it over the summer.

Mike Tildesley of the University of Warwick and a member of the Scientific Pandemic Influenza Modeling Group now says the Omicron variant could make Covid endemic.

He told Times Radio, “The thing that could happen in the future is that you see a new variant emerge that is less severe and ultimately it happens that Covid becomes endemic and you have a less severe version. It’s very similar to the common cold we’ve lived with for many years.

“We’re not quite there yet, but Omicron may be the first ray of light there to suggest that this could happen in the longer term. It’s much more transferable than Delta, of course, which is worrying but a lot less serious. “

Senior Whitehall sources have now told The Times that they believe the free universal lateral flow tests are not required given the introduction of the vaccine. They added, “Free universal testing is neither sustainable nor necessary in the face of high vaccination rates.”

Currently, families can order the tests online, with the public being encouraged to take a test at least twice a week.

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