Omicron latest news: Lateral flow tests WILL remain free & Covid isolation could be slashed to 5 days says minister

LATERAL flow tests WILL remain free for Brits, despite recent reports that they will be scaled back leading to a barrage of criticism.

Education Secretary Nadhim Zahawi has insisted the tests will still be available to order for free amid suggestions they could be scaled back despite soaring coronavirus cases.

The Cabinet minister said he is “puzzled” by a report suggesting that their universal availability could be axed as they are limited to high-risk settings and for people with symptoms.

The Sunday Times reported that Prime Minister Boris Johnson would make the announcement within weeks, while the NHS Test and Trace system could also be scaled back.

But Mr Zahawi told Sky’s Trevor Phillips on Sunday: “I saw that story this morning, which I was slightly puzzled by because I don’t recognise it at all. This is absolutely not where we are at. For January alone 425 million lateral flow tests (are) coming in and they will continue to be available for free. I don’t really recognise where that story is coming from.”

Asked whether there are plans to stop lateral flow tests being free, he said: “Absolutely not.”

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