UK mulls scrapping free Covid tests to save money

Similar policies are in place in France and Germany but European peers have many fewer infections

The UK government is mulling stopping free self-administered Covid-19 tests in an attempt to save money.

In a mooted overhaul of its coronavirus testing regime, free lateral flow tests would only be available to people with symptoms in places such as care homes, hospitals and schools, according to the Telegraph.

Similar policies are in place in France and Germany although the UK’s infection rate is far above that of its European neighbours.

Public Health England reported 34,950 new daily infections in the UK on Friday, with the seven-day case rate standing at 36,664.

The rolling average for France has fallen from a peak of about 25,000 in mid-August to about 5,000, bringing it under the rate for Germany which has remained relatively steady at nearly 10,000.

Italy’s recent cases are even lower.

On a per capita basis, the UK’s infection rate is more than five times higher than France's and Germany's.

Daily coronavirus-linked deaths in the UK are about 1.6 per million people, around twice the rate in the other two countries.

"It’s agreed that universal access isn’t sustainable or necessary given high vaccination levels," a source told The Telegraph.

“We now need to decide what the parameters should be that reasonably qualify access to free testing.”

Around 90 per cent of adults in the UK have received at least one Covid-19 vaccine dose.

More than 691 million lateral flow tests have been distributed to the public but the results for almost 600 million have not been registered.

This month Germany and France are to end mass testing of people without symptoms.

Updated: October 10th 2021, 12:09 AM
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