Free Covid testing to be limited as Boris Johnson looks to cut £2bn monthly cost

The Prime Minister confirmed the policy of free lateral flow and PCR tests will end for some, highlighting the cost to the taxpayer while announcing the move

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Britain will begin using Covid testing at a "much lower level" after a Government review on living with the virus this week, Boris Johnson has said.

The Prime Minister confirmed the policy of free lateral flow and PCR tests will end for some, highlighting the cost to the taxpayer while announcing the move.

It remains unclear as to when free testing will end, with some suggesting they could be phased out in the coming months as cases decline during the warm months, where cases have been seen to decline.

Mr Johnson spoke in regard to testing on the BBC's Sunday Morning programme: "I want to make sure that we have capability to spot stuff and to snap back up as fast as we need to.

"We need resilience but we don't need to keep, for instance on testing, we don't need to keep spending at a rate of £2billion a month, which is what we were doing in January.

"We will be testing at a much lower level... as the number of cases diminishes, and certainly the number of patients in hospital is thankfully coming down now, the number of cases in ICU is certainly way, way down, we're in a different world.

"I think it is important that people should feel confident again and that people should feel able to go back to work in the normal way. I do want to see our country really getting back on its feet."

Mr Johnson spoke ahead of a Government review of their Covid strategy, which is expected to be released on Monday.

The updated guidance is expected to spell the end for mandatory isolation periods for those who test positive, as well as new guidance for families and businesses to follow.

Ministers feel the pandemic can now be better managed as a result of the vaccine rollout and antiviral medications.

Officials are expected to keep a reserve of Covid tests should cases begin to rise in an alarming manner.

The Prime Minister has urged people to take personal responsibility for their actions going forward in the pandemic.

Mr Johnson said: "We have reached a stage where we think you can shift the balance away from state mandation, away from banning certain courses of action, and compelling certain courses of action, in favour of encouraging personal responsibility".

He also urged people to remain cautious and get the vaccine if they are yet to do so.

"I think it's very important we should remain careful," he said. "We're certainly not asking people to throw caution to the winds. Covid remains a dangerous disease, particularly if you haven't been vaccinated."