Covid test: When do free Covid tests end? How much will they cost?

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Contact-tracing and free Covid tests are to be scrapped, as part of the Government’s easing of all restrictions. For those people who still wish to test themselves for coronavirus, for work or for peace of mind while socialising, they will have to purchase tests from a retailer. How much will Covid tests cost?

As part of his ‘Living With Covid’ strategy, Boris Johnson has announced the end of free testing for coronavirus from April 1.

Mr Johnson said free testing for symptomatic and asymptomatic people will be scrapped.

Free tests would still be available to the oldest age groups and the most vulnerable, but only if they have coronavirus symptoms.

Hospital patients will also be tested for coronavirus if necessary.

Mr Johnson added: “The test, trace and isolation budget exceeded the entire budget of the Home Office. We must scale that back.”

He told MPs testing has cost the UK Government £15.7 million.

In the same address to the House of Commons, Mr Johnson confirmed the legal requirement to self-isolate will end on Thursday, February 24.

At the moment, lateral flow tests are available for free from the GOV.UK website, or by click and collect schemes in local pharmacies.

People are still encouraged to test themselves before going into work or going to a social event. However, after Thursday, no-one will be legally obliged to tell their employer they have tested positive for coronavirus.

How much will lateral flow tests cost?

Under the new rules, the majority of people will have to pay for their own tests if they want to check their Covid status – whether they have symptoms or not.

The Government hasn’t confirmed how much they will charge for a box of six lateral flow tests, but sources have suggested the figure will be around £20.

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This would work out at £3.33 per lateral flow test.

At the moment, a single lateral flow test bought for a fit-to-fly certificate costs around £10.

Some employers may choose to provide lateral flow tests for their staff in order for them to come into work, but this will be left up to the employer.

Around the world, the cost of Covid tests vary dramatically – in Thailand they are available for just 79p per test.

In France, a lateral flow test costs about five euros, whereas in Australia they can cost between 20 and 30 Australian dollars (between £15 and £20).

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