Boris Johnson, the UK’s Prime Minister, has reportedly proposed to scrap the free lateral flow tests to curb cost concerns. Free testing will be confined to high-risk locations such as hospitals, nursing homes, and schools under the revised guidelines.
As per a senior Whitehall official, it is possibly not the right time to send out free lateral flow tests to everyone. Most likely, the government is going to shift to less testing and will be able to ramp it up if found necessary.
Recently, Nicola Sturgeon warned Prime Minister Johnson that eliminating the free tests would be completely wrongheaded.
Wes Streeting, the shadow health secretary, stated that this would be the wrong decision to make at the wrong moment. In order to keep the cases under control, testing is highly essential. Families will be affected by the cost at a time when they are already struggling to make ends meet. It simply means that no one will accept them. Streeting added that it is a pound-foolish and penny-wise strategy.
In April, everyone in England, including those with no symptoms, was given access to the fast testing. More than £6 billion has been spent by the government on mass testing.
On Saturday, more than 150,000 new Covid cases were reported in the UK, with 313 deaths.
After the United States, Brazil, India, Russia, Mexico, and Peru, the United Kingdom becomes the seventh country to surpass 150,000 documented deaths.
Even though infections have reached new highs since the discovery of Omicron, hospitalizations and mortality have not.
According to Dr. Mike Tildesley, the Scientific Pandemic Influenza Modelling group's member, Omicron is perhaps the first beam of hope in the pandemic. In the coming years, the formation of a new, less severe variant can be observed, and in the long run, Covid can become an endemic having less severe versions.
This comes as Covid rates have fallen in more than two-thirds of London boroughs, raising hopes that the capital's surge of Omicron cases has subsided.
The NHS has claimed that Covid has severely impacted London hospitals, with 10,000 employees missing work each day.