In just 24 hours, the majority of people in England will no longer be able to get free COVID tests. John Puntis, retired Doctor and co-chair of Keep NHS Public is urging the government to rethink this policy.
First published: March 2022.
Boris Johnson has decided to lift all COVID restrictions in the UK, and scrap free lateral flow testing.
As a retired doctor, I know this is a dangerous step. It will put vulnerable people at risk and undo lots of the great progress we’ve made in tracking and tackling this pandemic.
Now is not the time to end isolation or free tests and I’m urging Boris Johnson to re-think this move!
Many scientists and 75% of senior NHS staff don’t agree with the government that the COVID pandemic is all but over. Crucial data from the Office of National Statistics surveys tell us that currently in the UK around 1 in 20 people are infected and 150 die from COVID-19 each day. Such high levels of infection here and in many parts of the world where only a small minority have been vaccinated are a recipe for new and more harmful variants to emerge.
Both common sense and science dictate that now is not the time to scrap PCR test centres, free lateral flow tests, self-isolation or collection of coronavirus surveillance data.
To imagine that wishful thinking can end the pandemic is both delusional and dangerous, and puts many more lives at risk. This is not ‘learning to live with COVID’ but learning to die with it.
As usual, the burden will fall heaviest on the most vulnerable and disadvantaged within society.
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Please join me in calling on the government to continue with PCR and free lateral flow testing, self-isolation with support for those infected, and gathering of essential surveillance data to give warning of new variants and adverse trends until a scientific consensus says all of these are no longer necessary.
This country has been through so much hardship in the last two years. Let’s make sure that all the hard work and sacrifices the public and NHS staff have made have not been in vain.
Dr John Puntis | Change.org
Please listen to the science and our concerns and don’t scrap covid testing or free lateral flow tests!
— AUTHOR —
▫ Dr John Puntis, retired consultant paediatrician and co-chair of Keep Our NHS Public.
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- Text: This piece was originally published in Change.org and re-published in PMP Magazine on 31 March 2022. | The author writes in a personal capacity.
- Cover: Flickr/Number 10 - Simon Dawson. - PM Boris Johnson. | 21 March 2022. (Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.)