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Vulnerable people concerned as free Covid tests end

Nicola Slater with her daughter Rebecca
Nicola Slater with her daughter Rebecca Image credit:

The end of free Covid-19 testing in England has caused fear for thousands of vulnerable people.

Rebecca Slater, a little girl with severe disabilities and needs 24-hour care, is one of many who could fall seriously ill now households have to pay for test kits under the government’s ‘Living with COVID’ plan.

Her mum, Nicola Slater (pictured above with Rebecca), shared concerns with Sky News saying the end to free testing could see another spike in coronavirus.

"Out and about in the community, if people aren't going to test themselves and buy the tests then there's going to be more [virus] out there, and how are we to know whether she's going to be more at risk?" she said.

"It's because disability is pushed under the carpet that I don't think people even contemplate or understand what it is like to be a vulnerable person.”

The concerned mother added: "I would prefer the mask-wearing to continue, in shops, public transport, hospitals and GP surgeries, which is where I take Rebecca."

Only a small fraction of people in England will still be eligible for free testing, if a person believes they have the virus they are being recommended to isolate at home.

A percentage of free testing will still be available in Scotland and Northern Ireland throughout April, and until the summer in Wales.

Dr Deepti Gurdasani, a clinical epidemiologist and senior lecturer at Queen Mary University of London, told Sky News: "The government seems to be in denial about the pandemic: the pandemic is continuing, and we have the highest rates of infection that we've ever had - one in 16 people in the community infected at this point in time," she said.

"Doing away with things like testing, which help us detect people who are infected, so that they can then isolate will further fuel transmission."

The most recent data showed there were 15,632 people in hospital in England with COVID-19 as of Wednesday 30 March.