The UK has run out of Covid-19 lateral flow tests just hours after the country eased almost all legal restrictions on the nation’s so-called ‘Freedom Day’.
Britons attempting to order free supplies of the at-home kits through the government website today were told that ‘no more tests can be ordered’ and they should instead ‘come back tomorrow’.
It comes just days after one of the Government’s top health officials told MPs that the free asymptomatic Covid testing could be scrapped by the end of August, meaning Britons could be forced to pay for their own kits.
The UK has run out of Covid-19 lateral flow tests just hours after the country eased its restrictions on Freedom Day
Britons attempting to order free supplies on the government site were today told to ‘come back tomorrow’
Earlier today a message on the government site read: ‘Sorry no more tests can be ordered today.
‘No more rapid lateral flow tests can be ordered online or through the call centre today.
‘Please try again tomorrow when more tests will be available’.
The government portal still allows members of the public from England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland to answer the relevant questions on the site before presenting a statement confirming that the kits are currently unavailable.
All adults in the UK are currently entitled to pick up two free testing kits a week, which can be collected from pharmacies or ordered online.
They are intended to be used by people when they do not show symptoms of Covid-19 in order to pick up the estimated one in five cases that are asymptomatic and ensure people isolate.
Earlier this month, the Department of Health said anyone in England will be able to pick up a test until the end of August ‘at least’ but did not confirm if a decision to scrap the scheme had been made.
It said: ‘Further details on the provision of free rapid LFD testing will be set out in due course.’
Asked about whether the scheme will be extended past the end of August at the Public Accounts Committee today, Dr Jenny Harries, chief executive of the Health Security Agency, refused to rule out it being scrapped.
Adults in the UK are currently entitled to pick up two free testing kits a week through the site
She said: ‘[We are] looking at whether it is an effective and essential public health intervention going forward. Nobody has discussed charging.’
However Labour’s shadow health secretary Jonathan Ashworth slammed the proposal to introduce charges for tests at the same time cases are surging in the country and claimed the move to introduce charges ‘beggars belief’.
He said: ‘Sajid Javid’s policy of allowing infections to rise as high as 100,000 a day will see hundreds of thousands forced into self quarantine.
‘In that context ascend to lateral flow tests will be vital. It beggars belief that the health Secretary is introducing charging for testing.’
Yesterday, Covid cases across the UK soared by 52 per cent week-on-week after the UK recorded 48,161 Covid cases – up from the 31,772 cases recorded last Sunday.
But while case numbers are on the rise, the Covid death figures have seen a slight decrease.
Last week 26 people were recorded as having died from Covid, while figures released yesterday showed 25 people had died of Covid in the last 24 hours.
Meanwhile, hospital figures have increased, with this week’s figures showing 740 patients had been admitted with Covid on July 13, and 4,313 in the week to that date.
While yesterday’s Covid case figures were higher than last week, they were lower than on Friday, when the UK recorded more than 50,000 daily cases of Covid for the first time since mid-January.
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