Charges to be introduced for Covid lateral flow tests within ‘months' in ‘reckless' move

© Provided by The Independent

(Alamy/PA)

Charges will be introduced for Covid lateral flow tests within “months” in England, triggering criticism of the “reckless” move.

“Universal free provision will end” and “individuals and businesses using the tests will bear the cost”, the government says – despite acknowledging the rapid tests identify a quarter of reported infections.

No date has been set for the switch, but the winter plan unveiled by Sajid Javid, the health secretary, says the tests will only remain free for “the coming months”.

Public health chiefs and school leaders have united in criticising the move, which Mr Javid failed to announce in his statement to Parliament last Tuesday.

Prof Kate Ardern, the lead director of public health in Greater Manchester, pointed out that tests for other diseases, such as tuberculosis, are free on the NHS.

“Anything that potentially deters people from continuing to do testing – and a charge does do that – then that is potentially a little bit worrying,” she told The Guardian.

Professor Dominic Harrison, the director of public health in the Covid hotspot of Blackburn-with-Darwen, said it was “critical” that testing remained free for those most at risk.

“Anything that puts a barrier up to community level testing in high-risk communities, which we know are often the most low-income communities, will increase the risk of further transmission and of course hospitalisation and mortality,” he said.

And Paul Whiteman, of the school leaders’ union NAHT, said: “The best way to minimise disruption to children’s education is to keep the number of Covid cases in school as low as possible. Testing is critical to this.”

The Independent reported that the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) was considering charges in July, but it stepped back after criticism.

But, buried in the winter strategy – which unveiled Boris Johnson’s ‘Plan B’ if the Covid pandemic surges in the weeks to come – is confirmation that fees will be introduced.

The plan states: “Rapid asymptomatic testing is an important tool to help reduce the spread of the virus, while supporting people to manage their own risk and the risks to others.

“The government will therefore continue to provide the public with access to free lateral flow tests in the coming months.”

It then adds: “At a later stage, as the government’s response to the virus changes, universal free provision of LFDs [lateral flow devices] will end, and individuals and businesses using the tests will bear the cost.

“The government will engage widely on the form of this model as it is developed, recognising that rapid testing could continue to have an important, ongoing role to play in future.”

The move comes despite the high-profile campaign, last spring, urging everybody to test themselves twice a week, under the headline ‘Next Step Safely’.

Lateral flow tests were made available from workplaces and places in the community “to encourage a new testing habit” for anyone without Covid symptoms.

A DHSC spokesperson said: “LFDs are a crucial measure to stop the spread of Covid-19 and that’s precisely why we have confirmed that we are extending the free provision of these tests.”

From news to politics, travel to sport, culture to climate – The Independent has a host of free newsletters to suit your interests. To find the stories you want to read, and more, in your inbox, click here.

Internet Explorer Channel Network
News Related

OTHER NEWS

Economists raise questions about 223% rise in FDI

© Provided by Free Malaysia Today Some investors move their manufacturing facilities here, hire foreigners and treat them badly, giving a bad impression of Malaysia in doing so, says economist. ... Read more »

Sarawak perlu peruntukan lebih besar segera, kerajaan diberitahu

© Provided by Free Malaysia Today Dengan perkhidmatan internet yang lemah di kebanyakan kawasan luar bandar di Sarawak, ramai pelajar dikatakan ketinggalan dalam pelajaran mereka sepanjang 18 bulan yang lalu. ... Read more »

California judge tentatively rejects cutting inmate crowding

© Provided by Associated Press FILE – In this Aug. 16, 2016, file photo, general population inmates walk in a line at San Quentin State Prison in San Quentin, Calif. ... Read more »

Sahabat Maidam platform terbaik salur bantu asnaf

© Provided by Sinar Harian KUALA TERENGGANU – Majlis Agama Islam dan Adat Melayu Terengganu (Maidam) membangunkan aplikasi Sahabat Maidam bagi membolehkan orang ramai menyalurkan maklumat secara terus berkaitan golongan ... Read more »

'Throw the book' at Tas quarantine escapee

© Ethan James/AAP PHOTOS Tasmanian restrictions, covering 12 government areas including Hobart, came into effect on Friday. Tasmania’s premier wants extra penalties dished out to a coronavirus-infected NSW man whose ... Read more »

World Spine Day 2021: Tips to Prevent Back Pain and Keep the Spine Healthy

© Provided by News18 World Spine Day 2021: Tips to Prevent Back Pain and Keep the Spine Healthy Back pain, specifically lower back pain, is a chronic ailment in India. ... Read more »

Horoscope Today, October 16, 2021: See your daily astrology prediction for zodiac sign Cancer, Libra, Pisces

Leo, Libra and Aquarius ascendant sign people will enjoy peace and warmth in their relationships. Read your daily predictions to know the possibilities for you.   Aries   © Provided ... Read more »

1,151 adolescents aged 15-17 years old got COVID-19 vaccine on 1st day —NTF

© DR. JONAS DEL ROSARIO/PGH A young girl is among the first to get inoculated against COVID-19 during the start of the vaccination for adolescents aged 12 to 17 years ... Read more »

Vaccine roll-out has served us well but we must make hard calls on booster shots

We are back to pinning hopes on vaccines to get us out of the current pandemic trough. This time the demand is for booster shots – but for many, they ... Read more »

Government may have little choice but to keep the restrictions in place

Significant doubts have been cast on plans to lift the majority of the remaining Covid-19 restrictions next Friday after public health officials sounded the alarm over rising virus numbers. Only ... Read more »

Union chief disputes ‘baseless' claims that PUP discourages people from working

Claims that higher Pandemic Unemployment Payment (PUP) rates are a big disincentive to work and that many recipients do not live here are “baseless”, the Government has been told. Patricia ... Read more »

Kinahan cartel ordered hit on Gilligan as he ‘muscled in' on drug trade

The Kinahan cartel ordered the murder of John Gilligan when he tried to muscle in on their drug trade following his release from prison, it has emerged As soon as ... Read more »

Former Student Accused In Parkland Shooting To Plead Guilty

Lawyers for the man charged in a high school shooting massacre said he will plead guilty rather than going to trial. Read more »

Nikolas Cruz pleads guilty to battery in jail attack

Accused Parkland shooter Nikolas Cruz plead guilty Friday to all charges of battery in a Broward County jail attack. Read more »

What the papers say – October 16

The nation’s papers are led by the fatal stabbing of Conservative MP Sir David Amess. The Times and The Guardian report a 25-year-old man is in custody after Sir David ... Read more »

NSW gets spring snow as severe storm warning is issued

NSW records 319 new local cases of COVID-19 New South Wales ski fields have received a late dusting of spring snow after days of wild weather battered the state. Perisher ... Read more »

Trump-backed challengers to Republican lawmakers lag in fundraising

By Jason Lange © Reuters/RACHEL MUMMEY FILE PHOTO: Former U.S. President Trump holds rally in Iowa WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Four candidates backed by Donald Trump to challenge Republican lawmakers who ... Read more »

Stuart Ayres defends NSW's scrapping of quarantine from November 1

UK politician dies after being stabbed at meeting New South Wales Deputy Liberal leader Stuart Ayres defended the state government’s plan to scrap quarantine requirements for fully vaccinated travellers from November 1. Mr Ayres said the plan ... Read more »

Border rule shake-up exposes contradictions as Victoria records 1993 new cases, seven deaths

Victoria has recorded 1993 new local cases of coronavirus and seven deaths as changes to border rules mean vaccinated NSW travellers will be able to visit Victoria without quarantining before ... Read more »

Carlos Beltran deserves second chance, but mea culpa must come first

HOUSTON — “In the shuffle,” Alex Cora pointed out to The Post on Friday, “people forget that he wasn’t suspended.” We were talking about Carlos Beltran, and why shouldn’t we? ... Read more »

Biden says DOJ should prosecute Capitol riot committee subpoena resisters

President Joe Biden voiced support for the Justice Department to prosecute anyone who defies subpoenas from Capitol riot investigators. © Manuel Balce Ceneta/AP President Joe Biden leans forward as he ... Read more »

Kids of couple swept away by floodwaters in La Union hold on to hope for their return

Kids of couple swept away by floodwaters in La Union hold on to hope for their return Since Monday, October 11, when Severe Tropical Storm Maring ravaged several Luzon provinces, ... Read more »

Boston Uprising parts ways with GaeBullSsi heading into 2022

© Provided by Dot Esports Many underperforming teams are dropping players left and right during the Overwatch League offseason, but the hits just keep coming for the Boston Uprising.  After ... Read more »

Sean Penn's Wife Actress Leila George Files for Divorce After 1 Year of Marriage

© Provided by People Rodin Eckenroth/Getty Sean Penn‘s wife, Australian actress Leila George, has filed for divorce after just over one year of marriage. George, 29, filed the dissolution in Los ... Read more »

Bitcoin nears $60K on futures ETF hopes

Yahoo Finance Live discusses Bitcoin‘s surge on signs that the SEC will approve the first U.S. Bitcoin futures ETF. Video Transcript BRIAN SOZZI: The Bitcoin bulls may soon have yet ... Read more »

EXPLAINER: Texas abortion law again on path to high court

1 / 2Supreme Court Abortion Justices’ Own WordsIn this Oct. 4, 2021 photo, the Supreme Court is seen on the first day of the new term, in Washington. Abortion already ... Read more »

Jacobi Asset Management Wins Bitcoin ETF Approval in Guernsey

Bitcoin exchange-traded funds (ETFs) are popping up across the Atlantic. Newcomer digital assets manager Jacobi Asset Management said Friday that it won approval from regulators on the island of Guernsey ... Read more »

UAE weather: Low 40s and some dust blowing

© Provided by The National Abu Dhabi residents on the Corniche. Victor Besa/The National Temperatures across the UAE will reach the mid-40s on Saturday. In Dubai the maximum temperature is ... Read more »

Joe Manchin and Bernie Sanders spar over Biden's $3.5T bill

Sen. Joe Manchin went back at Bernie Sanders after the Vermont senator wrote an op-ed in a West Virginia paper. Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images Sens. Joe Manchin (D-W.V.) and Bernie Sanders ... Read more »

NT Police charge 32-year-old man over a fatal hit and run in Darwin's northern suburbs

© Provided by ABC NEWS NT Police released CCTV footage of the vehicle, captured on Gsell Street prior to the crash. (Supplied: NT Police) Northern Territory Police have charged a man ... Read more »

ACT reports 20 new virus cases

The ACT has reported another 20 locally acquired COVID-19 cases while handing residents a green light to visit 26 extra NSW postcodes as part of relaxing quarantine requirements. © Mick ... Read more »

Donaire vs Gaballo slated on Dec 11

WORLD Boxing Council (WBC) bantamweight champion Nonito “The Filipino Flash” Donaire Jr. will face mandatory challenger and current interim champion Reymart “Assassin” Gaballo of Polomolok, South Cotabato, on December 11. ... Read more »

China's Shenzhou-13 docks at space station for longest mission

© Provided by Al Jazeera Tiangong, meaning ‘heavenly palace’, is expected to operate for at least 10 years [File: Wang Zhao/ AFP] Three Chinese taikonauts successfully docked with China’s new ... Read more »

Tom Parker bravely speaks about his brain tumour on Stand Up To Cancer

© Provided by Daily Mail MailOnline logo Tom Parker has bravely spoken up about his brain tumour battle on Stand Up To Cancer on Friday. The Wanted star, 33, candidly ... Read more »

Financially struggling child wonders if they should move out when their mum demands S$300 a month for food & utilities

© The Independent Singapore Disclaimer: Microsoft News is currently reviewing the accuracy of this story with the publisher due to social media source. Updates will be published here if needed. ... Read more »

Sean Penn's wife files for divorce after a year of marriage

© Bang Showbiz Sean Penn Sean Penn’s wife, Leila George, has filed for divorce. The 61-year-old actor tied the knot with the 28-year-old beauty on July 30 last year, and ... Read more »

Golden Globes still on, despite NBC dropping the awards show

© Reuters/Fred Prouser FILE PHOTO: The Hollywood Foreign Press Association’s Golden Globe statuette is seen with its red velvet-lined, leather-bound chest during a news conference in Beverly Hills, California (Reuters) ... Read more »

‘The most silent of all silences': Port Arthur massacre film opens in Tasmania

It began with faint ripples of anxious laughter and ended with a stillness so unnervingly intense that one person remarked in the foyer of Hobart’s State Cinema afterwards, “that was ... Read more »

AFP seizes 450 kilograms of heroin in largest ever haul

A shipping container of ceramic tiles has been used to conceal 450 kilograms of heroin bound for Australian streets. Australian authorities detected what is the largest heroin shipment ever, inside ... Read more »

Facebook adopts new policies to combat coordinated intimidation and harassment of public figures

© Drew Angerer / Getty Facebook adopts new policies to combat coordinated intimidation and harassment of public figures Facebook said the policy was created to prevent coordinated mass attacks against ... Read more »