COVID: Will Brits have to pay for lateral flow tests soon?

No.10 has spoken out about the claims that Brits will have to start paying for lateral flow tests in the coming weeks.

Lateral Flow Tests
© Annie Spratt/UNSPLASH
Lateral Flow Tests

Lateral flow tests have been instrumental in the effort to ‘live with the coronavirus’. Before meeting family, travelling, or attending larger events, this little device allows us to check our COVID status so that we can avoid spreading the virus on to other people—and in the UK you can get it for free.

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Worrying news

This weekend, however, the British population was sent into a state of frenzy after a source implied that people would soon have to start paying for lateral flow tests.

A senior source from Whitehall told the Sunday Times:

I don’t think we are in a world where we can continue to hand out free lateral flow tests to everybody.
It’s likely we will move to a scenario where there is less testing but we have a capacity to ramp it up if necessary.

The Evening Standard reported that free lateral flow devices may only be distributed to care homes, hospitals, schools, and other high-risk settings. Moreover, there were claims that this could be one of the policies that is currently being reviewed by the Prime Minister Boris Johnson under his strategy for ‘living with the virus.’

Baseless rumours

However, Cabinet minister Nadhim Zahawi, was quick to dismiss these allegations and said that the government had no intention, whatsoever, to end free testing. When asked about the plan on Sky News, he replied:

I don’t recognise that at all. This is absolutely not where we are at.
We haven’t made any decisions about the future of testing, and it’s far too early to have done so given we are in the middle of an Omicron wave.

Several authorities spoke out against the possibility of having paid LFTs and said that it would be a move in the wrong direction. Shadow Health Secretary, Wes Streeting said:

This would be the wrong decision at the wrong time.
Testing is absolutely crucial for keeping infections under control and avoiding the need for further restrictions that impact on our lives, livelihoods, and liberties.
Brits might have to film themselves taking lateral flow tests when travelling Brits might have to film themselves taking lateral flow tests when travelling