FREE lateral flow tests could be scrapped in weeks under new plans being considered by the Government, it has been reported.
It means asymptomatic Brits may be forced to pay for testing kits from the end of August.
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Currently, all adults in the country can pick up two free kits – containing seven tests each – per week.
The tests can be collected from pharmacies or ordered on the Government's website for free.
They can be used by people who do not have any coronavirus symptoms, but want to get tested because of work or other personal reasons to make sure they are not spreading the virus inadvertently.
The Department of Health and Social Care said anyone in England will be able to order free tests "at least" until the end of next month, but did not confirm whether the scheme will be scrapped after that.
It said in a statement: "Further details on the provision of free rapid LFD testing will be set out in due course."
Shadow Health Secretary Jonathan Ashworth criticised the plans, writing on Twitter: "Sajid Javid introducing charges for lateral flow Covid tests while infections grow steeply possibly as high as 100,000 a day…"
Dr Jenny Harries, chief executive of the Health Security Agency, did not rule out the scheme could be scrapped, the Daily Mail reports.
She said: "[We are] looking at whether it is an effective and essential public health intervention going forward. Nobody has discussed charging."
The lateral flow tests are able to return results in just 15 or 30 minutes and can be done from the comfort of your own home.
While they are not 100 per cent accurate, they catch the most infectious cases, even if people do not feel ill.
Tests use a swab from a patient's nose or throat to quickly determine if they are infected with coronavirus.
They are being used to check if people have the virus but are not showing symptoms.
If someone tests positive, they can then isolate at home to avoid spreading the virus.
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