UK government announce end to free covid-19 testing

Most of the UK public will lose access to free covid-19 tests and those infected will no longer be legally required to self isolate.

This is after a new “Living with covid” strategy, designed to shift the focus from government interventions to personal responsibility.

But the measures drew criticism from scientists and medical leaders, warning that numbers of omicron cases were still too high to lift restrictions.

According to medical experts, there is a risk of further spread of the virus and there appear to be insufficient support for certain groups of vulnerable people.

There has also been concern that stopping self-isolation support payments to people on lower incomes will widen inequalities.

The BMA and the NHS Confederation have called for the continuation of free covid tests for healthcare workers to protect staff and patients.

More than 3360 scientists and doctors have signed an open letter to England’s chief medical officer, Chris Whitty, and the UK’s chief scientific adviser, Patrick Vallance, asking them to clarify the evidence for the government’s decisions.