Free Covid testing will end from 1 April for the majority of the population, the prime minister has confirmed.
In a statement delivered to the Commons this afternoon (21 February), Prime Minister Boris Johnson told MPs that free tests would only remain for vulnerable people and those in ‘the oldest age groups’.
Scrapping free testing is one of several major steps to be taken under the prime minister’s ‘living with Covid’ plan.
The plan will see most Covid restrictions and measures introduced under the Coronavirus Act removed entirely, from as early as this week.
Mandatory self-isolation for those who have tested positive for Covid-19 will no longer be legally required from Thursday (24 February).
Those laws will be supplanted by guidance advising people take a ‘personal responsibility’ not to infect others, similar to how one might act if they had the flu, Mr Johnson suggested.
Responding to Mr Johnson’s statement to the Commons, Sir Keir Starmer, the leader of the opposition, urged the prime minister to share the scientific rationale behind the decision to scrap self-isolation.
He also asked for clarity over what impact this might have on clinically extremely vulnerable (CEV) people.
Both announcements have been rumoured over the last week, with reports suggesting that CEV people will be expected to contact their GP for Covid advice as the Government prepares to end all guidance for the group.
Tests limited to one pack every three days
Meanwhile, orders of lateral flow tests kits have already been limited to one pack per person every three days as of today.
Until now, people have been able to order one kit containing a week’s worth of tests every 24 hours online, or via their pharmacy.
However, those who have today ordered a test kit online within three days are now being met with the message: ‘You have ordered a test within the last 72 hours. You can only place one order in a 72 hour period.
‘You need to wait before you can order again. If we have made a mistake, you can call the contact centre.’
Management in Practice’s sister title, The Pharmacist, has contacted the UK Health Security agency for comment.