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Education Secretary Responds To Claims Free Lateral Flow Tests Are To Be Scrapped

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Education Secretary Responds To Claims Free Lateral Flow Tests Are To Be Scrapped

Reports have been doing the rounds over the past couple of days that lateral flow tests could soon be a thing of the past.

Currently, anyone who needs to get a quick test in England can order LFTs free of charge through the post.

However, reports this week claimed that the UK government was looking at plans for 'living with Covid', with those not experiencing symptoms forced to pay for a test.

Education Secretary Nadhim Zahawi has responded to the claims.

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Speaking to Sky’s Trevor Phillips this morning, he said: "I saw that story this morning, which I was slightly puzzled by because I don’t recognise it at all. This is absolutely not where we are at.

"For January alone, we've got 425 million lateral flow tests coming in and they will continue to be available for free.

"I don’t really recognise where that story is coming from."

When asked if the government was planning on making people pay for LFTs, Zahawi said: "Absolutely not."

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Fears have grown this week that lateral flow tests will no longer be free. Credit: Alamy
Fears have grown this week that lateral flow tests will no longer be free. Credit: Alamy

This comes after reports in The Sunday Times claimed that the NHS Test and Trace system could be scaled back in the coming weeks.

According to reports, free tests would only be provided in high-risk settings such as hospitals, care homes and schools, as well as for people with symptoms.

Recently, people had been struggling to get hold of rapid tests over the Christmas period.

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And spotting an opportunity, those who had managed to get a pack were spotted flogging them on auction sites for as much as £150

Many Brits have been unable to find any tests for home delivery, despite assurances that there are plenty available. 

After logging their details on the government website, they’ve been met with a message that says: “Sorry, there are no home delivery slots left for these tests right now. 

People have been selling tests on eBay. Credit: eBay
People have been selling tests on eBay. Credit: eBay
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“The 119 service does not have access to more home delivery slots right now. 

“You cannot order tests from NHS 111 or 999.” 

Those hoping to test asymptomatically are instead encouraged to head to a 'pharmacy or collection point' to see if you can pick some up in person, while anyone with symptoms needs to book a PCR test. 

Unfortunately, a number of people spotted an opportunity here and attempted to make a bit of extra cash, turning to sites like eBay to sell the free tests for extortionate prices.

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One box of ‘Unopened lateral flow test kit, 7 Tests’ was listed for a buy-it-now price of £150, with eight people ‘watching’ the item within just 24 hours. 

However, the listing was later removed from the eBay website.

Featured Image Credit: Alamy

Topics: Health, UK News, Politics

Dominic Smithers
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