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Covid-19: Sir Patrick Vallance warns 'virus hasn't gone away'

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During the Covid pandemic lateral flow tests (LFTs) were a mainstay of the Government’s testing system to alert people when they might have contracted the virus. More than two billion LFTs have been provided to the British public for free since 2020, but this will be ending in days.

When will free LFTs end?

From Friday, April 1 the Government will no longer provide free universal Covid testing for most of the public, as part of its “Living with Covid” strategy.

Though up to this date, people can still order LFTs free of charge via the Government’s website.

Health Secretary Sajid Javid said on Tuesday that those at risk of serious illness from Covid will continue to get free tests if they develop symptoms of the virus.

NHS and adult social care staff, as well as those in other “high-risk settings” will also continue to be eligible.

However, for members of the general public, Covid tests will only be available commercially.

The Government has said it is “working with retailers to ensure that everyone who wants can buy a test”.

In fact, Downing Street has published an approved list of LFT providers, which can be found at Gov.uk.

Where can I buy LFTs?

A number of high street retailers, azithromycin adalah obat untuk such as Boots and Superdrug, have already begun selling LFT kits on their store shelves.

At present, a single LFT from Boots will set you back £2, a pack of two £3.95 and a combo of five will cost £9.80.

Meanwhile, Superdrug has marked up their LFT kits at £1.99 for a single test.

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Asif Aziz, director of healthcare services at Boots UK, said: “We are pleased to be expanding our Covid testing services even further, with affordable lateral flow testing options for those who still want peace of mind from asymptomatic testing after April 1.

“While it is great that we are returning to normal and finding a way to live with Covid, we encourage our customers and patients to stay safe and continue to take measures to limit the spread of the virus, especially to those in vulnerable groups.”

Boots has committed to offering its LFT kits in more than 400 stores nationwide.

According to British Airways’ list of approved Covid test suppliers for travel purposes, at-home lateral flow test kits provided by companies such as Randox, Eurofins, Medicspot and Breathe Assured can range from £9.96 to £20.16.

Why will LFTs no longer be free?

Free LFTs are being scrapped as part of Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s Living with Covid strategy.

The plan, which was unveiled in February, has gradually seen England wind down its Covid restrictions, including mandatory self-isolation periods and masks in indoor spaces.

Mr Johnson said the provision of LFTs has cost £15.7 billion in this financial year and £2 billion in January alone, adding the Government “must now scale this back”.

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