No 10 defends scrapping free lateral flow testing as nine new Covid symptoms

Common complaints such as sore throats, muscle aches and diarrhea have now been confirmed as signs of the coronavirus – days after the government scrapped free lateral flow tests

A woman undergoes a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test in Penzance.
Only two pharmacies have announced their prices when side streams are no longer free

Downing Street has defended the scrapping of free lateral flow tests as nine new Covid symptoms were added to the list.

Common complaints such as sore throats, muscle aches and diarrhea have been confirmed by the UK health authority as signs of infection – more than two years into the pandemic.

Symptoms of Covid were previously just a fever, a new and persistent cough, and a loss or change in taste or smell.

The move comes days after free universal tests were scrapped in England, raising questions about the cost Brits must use to check if they have Covid or a common cold.

The NHS website says these are “very similar to symptoms of other illnesses such as colds and flu”.

Covid tests are no longer free for most people in England since April 1


AFP via Getty Images)

The Prime Minister’s official spokesman said providing universal free testing is “simply not sustainable” at a cost of £2billion a month.

When asked if people should have access to free testing given the changes, the spokesperson said: “I think we need to look at where we are in the course of this pandemic.

“We know that Covid has a relatively high prevalence at the moment, but because of vaccines, therapeutics and other approaches, we don’t see it having the knock-on effect when it comes to requiring the most intensive hospital care.

“At the same time, providing free testing was costing taxpayers £2billion a month and that’s just unsustainable.”

NHS staff, care home workers and people working in high-risk environments such as prisons and places of refuge will still be entitled to free testing.

Meanwhile, No10 said ministers expected the public to use their “good judgement” about whether to go out if they have symptoms.

The spokesman said: “I think everyone, even pre-Covid, would realize if they had symptoms of an infectious disease like the flu, that they should stay at home and not infect their loved ones or colleagues and it’s such good judgment that we advocate.” anticipate the future.”

Covid rates in England have reached record highs with an estimated one in 13 people infected in the week ending March 26, according to the Office for National Statistics.

The increase is partially attributed to the contagious Omicron BA.2 subvariant and broader levels of social contact.

But the number of people being treated for serious illnesses remains low thanks to high vaccination rates.

The full list of Covid symptoms is:

  • High temperature or tremors (chills) – a high temperature means you feel hot when you touch your chest or back (you don’t need to take your temperature).
  • A new persistent cough – this means a lot of coughing for more than an hour or 3 or more coughing fits in 24 hours
  • A loss or change in your sense of smell or taste
  • shortness of breath
  • Feeling tired or exhausted
  • A body that hurts
  • headache
  • Sore throat
  • A stuffy or runny nose
  • loss of appetite
  • diarrhea
  • Feeling sick or being sick

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Fry Electronics Team

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