Free lateral flow tests are set to be axed as the Government prepares the country to live with coronavirus without ongoing restrictions.
The newspaper reported that the new system could mean that free tests are only given in high-risk settings such as care homes, hospitals and schools, and to people with symptoms.
Contact tracing by NHS Test and Trace could also be scaled back. More than £6billion has been spent on mass testing using lateral flow devices.
Free lateral flow tests are set to be axed as the Government prepares the country to live with coronavirus without ongoing restrictions
A senior Whitehall source told The Sunday Times: 'I don't think we are in a world where we can continue to hand out free lateral flow tests to everybody for evermore.
'It's likely we will move to a scenario where there is less testing but where we have a capacity to ramp it up if necessary, such as in the winter.'
Scotland's First Minister Nicola Sturgeon warned Mr Johnson that axing universal free lateral flow tests would be an 'utterly wrongheaded' approach to dealing with coronavirus.
Ms Sturgeon said the Scottish Government had not signed up to the move, but if Mr Johnson was 'really considering this' it would be 'utterly wrongheaded'.
'Hard to imagine much that would be less helpful to trying to 'live with' Covid,' she tweeted.
She questioned what would happen to funding for UK nations for testing under the Barnett formula if the Westminster Government went ahead with the move, adding: 'Testing so vital, we'd have to consider continued funding but it would then come from existing budgets.'
The Department of Health and Social Care is yet to comment, but a Government source disputed the report and said it was too early to say what the future holds for free lateral flows.
A Government spokeswoman did not address whether access to free tests will be scaled back in the future, and instead said: 'Everyone can continue to get free tests and we are continuing to encourage people to use rapid tests when they need them.
'Testing continues to play an important role in helping people live their day-to-day lives, keep businesses running and keep young people in school.'
- > UK is first country in Europe to pass 150,000 deaths with... > Britain's daily Covid cases fall by almost TWENTY PER CENT...
Share this articleShare
Source : https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-10382481/Free-lateral-flow-tests-axed-weeks.html697