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Will free Covid tests come back as new cases soar and threaten to burden the NHS


Covid cases in the UK are on the rise with recent estimates indicating over 1 million people had the virus. There are no longer free Covid tests for all, so some are calling for them to return

A NHS Covid-19 lateral flow test kit in London, Britain, 31 March 2022
Free Covid testing for all was hugely expensive

NHS staff are among those campaigning for the government to reintroduce free Covid testing as cases rise.

Free testing for all, which ended in April 2022, was used to keep on top of the virus with people required to isolate after testing positive.

We now rely on estimates to tell us how many people in the UK have Covid, but it was recently reported to be over a million.

Hopes are that we will never return to previous scenarios in which restrictions were put in place by the government in some scenarios, shops and restaurants even as cases rise. The rise may well be to a seeming resurgence of the BA.4 and BA.5 Omicron variants

There is absolutely no talk whatsoever of restrictions being put back in place even as cases rise, but could free Covid tests come back?

Will the government introduce free Covid testing?






Covid is on the rise, so some are calling for free tests for all

It is not clear if the government will introduce free Covid testing for all, though it is unlikely thanks to the huge expense involved.

The UK economy is set to struggle in its continued growth and recovery after the hugely damaging effects the pandemic had.

A petition on Change.org titled ‘ Boris Johnson : Don’t scrap free covid testing and isolation’ has over 424,000 signatures at the time of writing.

Set up by retired consultant paediatrician and co-chair of Keep Our NHS Public, Dr John Puntis, it reads: “Both common sense and science dictate that now is not the time to scrap PCR test centres, free lateral flow tests, self-isolation or collection of coronavirus surveillance data.”

The Treasury may be resistant to such calls due to the enormous expense to the taxpayer of the testing, tracing and isolation budget in 2021, costing us £15.7 billion.

Is Covid coming back?







Covid is rising again, but it is not yet clear how significant this is
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Image:

Getty Images)

Cases of the lockdown-causing virus that dominated the world’s headlines for two years are on the rise again with a reported increase of 170% in the week leading up to June 13.

Covid never went away and there was an estimated 1.13 million people in England thought to have Covid in the week ending June 11.

Professor Azra Ghani told The Guardian: “This increase in infection prevalence is likely due to the growth of the BA.4 and BA.5 Omicron subvariants, which as we have seen elsewhere in Europe, appear to be able to escape immunity generated from previous Omicron subvariants.”

One health expert warned Scotland may be heading towards a new wave of the virus.

The Scottish Government’s Deputy National Clinical Director John Harden, said on BBC Good Morning Scotland: “I don’t think it feels like it just yet. I think we may well be heading in that direction.

“The difficulty with waves is you only know you’re in a wave once you’re in it, and it’s quite obvious. At the moment we’ve got a bit of an increase in cases which we are tracking very closely. I would suggest that time will tell if we’re in a wave when we look back so it’s very hard to say for certain.”

Vaccines are designed to allow us to live without restrictions and deal with any mutant variants of concern that may crop up, but viruses are hard to predict and more dangerous variants have the potential to emerge.

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