Health Secretary Sajid Javid does not rule out suggestion end of free Covid tests could be announced soon

The Health Secretary has not ruled out the possibility that the public could have to pay for Covid tests soon.

Sajid Javid said that “at some point, testing will change” but that no “final decisions” have yet been taken. The Government has previously said that there will be costs at some point, but a date had not yet been set.

His comments come after LBC reported that everyone – including vulnerable people, children and health and care workers – will have to pay to access tests for the virus, with an announcement due possibly as early as next week.

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The radio station suggested that the plans are part of the Government’s “living with Covid” strategy, to be launched next week.

Health Secretary Sajid Javid speaking to the media in February 2022 (PA)Health Secretary Sajid Javid speaking to the media in February 2022 (PA)
Health Secretary Sajid Javid speaking to the media in February 2022 (PA)

Speaking to The Yorkshire Post while on a visit in Doncaster this evening, Mr Javid said: “We are working on a plan on learning to live with COVID.

“And we will say more about that next week when Parliament is back.

“We haven’t yet made any final decisions around testing whether that’s PCR testing or lateral flow tests.

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“But I said in Parliament back in September when we published the government’s autumn and winter plan on COVID, at some point, testing will change and it will adapt to the challenges that we face.

“I think as a country given that we’re in a much better position now than we have been for a while, we’ll keep it under review and make decisions according to the challenges.”

The winter plan, published last year, said that “individuals and businesses using the tests will bear the cost,” under the proviso that “universal free provision” of LFTs will come to an end at some stage.

When asked how much the public may expect to pay for a test or a box of tests like those available through, Mr Javid said it is “hard to answer that question”.

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He explained: “First of all, we haven’t made a decision on the tests just yet.

“As I say we will base that decision on the from the very latest data that we receive.

“It’s harder I think, for us to say - certainly in this country, given lateral flow test has been free for everyone for a long while - what the alternatives might be.

"But whenever we make a decision like this, it will only be based on the very latest data and we will only do it if we think it is safe to do so.”

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