Covid news: ‘Final order’ of lateral flow kits as UK set to move away from mass testing

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This is based upon current patterns of consumption with 97 million lateral flow tests being performed every week.

However, Downing Street scientific advisors have warned the current shortage of LFDs and the pressure on the PCR lab network is hampering the fight against Omicron.

Professor Graham Medley, chair of the government’s advisory group on pandemic modelling, told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme that due to these issues testing has not been a reliable predictor at present.

He said: “I think that at the moment the testing capacity issues, and the Christmas and the new year, mean that we can’t really rely on cases to tell us what’s going to happen exactly.”

Susan Michie, Professor of Health Psychology and a member of the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE), said “people [are] less likely to report self-administered tests” which means the current daily caseloads were a “considerable underestimation”.

Reflecting the growing scepticism about mass testing, Levelling up Minister Michael Gove refused to rule out LFDs being scrapped in the coming weeks.

According to a source in the UK’s Covid testing operation supplies were currently “hand to mouth” and that it was unlikely the Government would make any other mass orders.

It is possible the Government could end free access to lateral flow tests at the end of march, The Independent has reported. 

READ MORE: Covid LIVE: Horror spike in death figures 

Key logistical concerns remain about the new order including where to store them and how to transport them with the UK reliant on overseas supplies.



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