UK Politics Live: Labor and Liberal Democrats draw up ‘informal plan to unseat the Tories’ | Politics

A minister has hinted Boris Johnson is likely to announce an end to the provision of free lateral flow tests when he outlines his ‘living with Covid’ plan next week, PA reports.

James Heappeythe Armed Forces Minister, said it was time to reconsider whether certain pandemic measures should remain in place as he argued Britons needed to ‘change their behaviour’ in the face of potentially less threatening future Covid variants.

The Prime Minister is set to present his post-pandemic action plan when Parliament returns from recess on Monday, having already said he would aim within days of his statement to lift the requirement in England for those who test positive for Covid to self-isolate.

According to reports, as part of the Prime Minister’s plan for the future, the UK the government will no longer provide free lateral flow tests (LFT) to the public.

Asked on Sky News if the offer of free rapid tests to allow people to check if they are positive for coronavirus would be “withdrawn”, Heappey said:


I think that’s the meaning of the trip, but the Prime Minister will announce his conclusions on this shortly.

Johnson’s administration has been warned that the public could be left ‘blind’ to Covid if they are not provided with free testing.

LBC, which first reported the removal of free tests, also said the availability of free PCR tests could also be withdrawn as part of the changes, with the suggestion that the UK would switch to a paid model if the people want to test themselves for the virus.

Liberal Democrat health spokesperson, Margaret Cooper, said cutting free testing while case rates were ‘still very high’ would ‘blind the public and scientists’ and increase the risk of another lockdown.

The SNP and Labor also criticized the touted plan, with Keir Starmer arguing that ending free coronavirus testing would be “a mistake” and increase the risk of transmission.

Wednesday the Association of Directors of Public Health (ADPH) warned that with the coronavirus not yet becoming endemic and it is “difficult to predict when that state might be reached”, the reduction in free testing could weaken the UK’s defenses if a new variant of the virus would emerge and cause “significant new waves”. » cases.

The group also said forcing people to pay for lateral flow tests would also have a “detrimental impact” on uptake, especially among disadvantaged communities. A briefing note said:


Significant levels of cases, hospitalizations and deaths continue to disrupt and devastate individuals, public services and the economy. There remains a degree of unpredictability as to the course ahead.

Heappey said he understood the concern over the withdrawal of the free LFT offer, particularly for people wanting to know their Covid status before visiting vulnerable relatives.

However, the minister said the country was “moving to a different phase” and pandemic habits should change. He said:


We are moving from a pandemic period to an endemic period and I think there is a mentality adjustment that we are all going to have to make as we accept that future variants of Covid are expected to are as mild or, more likely, milder than Omicron.

It means we can change our behaviors and worry less about needing to test ourselves, and everything else. But the Prime Minister will present revised measures.

I understand why people are worried – it has become a habit and it is reassuring – but the reality is that we are now moving into another phase and I think it is probably time to reconsider whether some of the measures that were in place during the last 18 months must last.

The government has previously said the ‘universal free supply’ of CFLs will end at some point, although it said no decision had been made on timelines for responding to reports that there might be a announcement about the end of free testing next week.

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