More than 426,000 people have signed a petition against the end of free testing kits, which has now been delivered at Downing Street
Covid rates in the UK have risen recently – due to the BA.4 and BA.5 variants – which has led to campaigners calling for free testing to return.
dr John Puntis, co-chair of Keep Our NHS Public and leader of the petition, said the recent spike in Covid cases has made the petition to return free lateral flow testing “even more relevant”.
He said that although there are fewer cases of serious illness and death from Covid, there are still 3.7million people in England classified as clinically extremely vulnerable to Covid.
He added that more than two million people in England who have long been ill with Covid are “often living with the devastating effects on their quality of life and ability to work”.
dr Puntis said the petition sends “a strong message” to Prime Minister Boris Johnson that there is much more to do and that “living with Covid must be much more than just a vaccination”.
“It must include widespread testing, free lateral flow testing, sick pay and self-isolation assistance, mask wearing in crowded indoor spaces, flexible working and clean air through improved ventilation systems. It is time to put public health at the center of our response to Covid,” added Dr. Punti added.
Martin Michaelis, Professor of Molecular Medicine at the University of Kent, also agreed that free testing for Covid must be made widely available again to the public.
He said if the spread of Covid is to be reduced people need to know if they are infected and potentially infecting others.
Without testing, no one can know whether or not they carry the virus, he added.
Prof Michaelis said that because of the high levels of pre-existing immunity – stemming from vaccinations and previous infections – many people do not experience any symptoms when infected with Covid.
He added that even those who have symptoms cannot know for sure if they have Covid or another respiratory infection.
Many people will therefore “unknowingly spread Covid if they don’t have an easy opportunity to test themselves,” he added.
He also said that although many people have high levels of immune protection against Covid, there is “a significant portion” of the population whose immune systems are not working properly and who cannot protect themselves through vaccination.
“These people are at much higher risk when Covid levels are high in the population,” Prof Michaelis said.
“As people can only avoid spreading the virus if they know they have it, free testing is an important measure that reduces the spread of Covid and therefore the risk of future devastating Covid waves,” he added.
https://www.nationalworld.com/health/should-covid-tests-be-free-again-why-shouldnt-need-to-pay-for-lateral-flow-tests-according-to-experts-3748176 Should Covid tests be free again? Thousands sign petition to make lateral flow testing free