Stopping free lateral flow tests for Covid is wrong, says Sheffield councillor

Scrapping free testing for Covid is the ‘wrong decision at the wrong time’ says a Sheffield councillor.

Tuesday, 22nd February 2022, 12:03 pm
Updated Tuesday, 22nd February 2022, 1:29 pm

Coun Ben Miskell says families will be hit by the financial cost of testing as the Government stops free lateral flow tests.

The government has announced that free testing for those who are either symptomatic or asymptomatic will end from April 1 and people with symptoms will be asked to exercise ‘personal responsibility’ when deciding whether to stay at home.

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Coun Ben Miskell says families will be hit by the financial cost of testing as the Government stops free lateral flow tests

People can now only order a box every three days, instead of every 24 hours, to stop stockpiling.

Coun Miskell says testing is critical to keep the infection under control in South Yorkshire. He publicly highlighted the lack of availability of lateral flows test kits during a national shortage in January.

“The Wild West of private testing”

He said: “This is the wrong decision at the wrong time and will hit South Yorkshire families, who will now be forced to pay for private Covid testing to keep their families safe.

“It’ll be just like the Wild West of private sector testing, experienced by people who went abroad on holiday last summer, with companies charging a fortune and profiting from the pandemic.

“I’m backing Labour’s plan to live well with Covid, which was released back in January. Removing free testing stops people from being able to know their Covid status and take sensible steps to safeguard their family.

“It means when I visit my 90-year-old grandmother in Rotherham, I’ll no longer be eligible for a free lateral flow test.

“People like me, with vulnerable relatives won’t be able to make informed decisions about whether it’s safe to visit, if they don’t know their Covid status.”

Coun Miskell said the Government had gone against the advice of the British Medical Association and the World Health Organisation.

“Removing free testing puts at risk all of our collective hard work as a population. We all want to avoid further restrictions that could impact our lives, livelihoods and liberties.

“It’s hard not to conclude that the government is pretending that the war with Covid is over to distract from the scandals facing Downing Street.”