Coronavirus cases hit record high as free testing ends

Old man in mask

Coronavirus (Covid-19) cases have hit a record high as free testing came to an end. The Office for National Statistics (ONS) has said the most recent weekly figure suggests 1 in 13 people in the UK had coronavirus. The ONS said that this means there have been over 4.9 million cases in the last week.

This news about rising cases came as the government ended free testing for coronavirus. As of Friday 1 April, most people have to pay for tests. Exceptions include prison staff and NHS workers.

Read on...

The pandemic never ended

The report was broken down into each UK nation. England was estimated to have had 4,122,700 cases. Meanwhile Wales had 212,000. Northern Ireland had 123,000 cases, and Scotland had 451,200.

The ONS stipulated that the figures were for those in private households and excluded communal settings including hospitals and care homes.

Meanwhile, experts raised concerns that the new wave presents a clear danger to public health. Epidemiologist Eric Feigl-Ding said the new surge had caused more people to be sent to hospital than the last Omicron wave:

Another doctor warned only days ago that Boris Johnson’s declaration of victory over coronavirus was premature:

As one Twitter user pointed out, the end of free testing couldn’t have come at a worse time:

Two days prior to the release of the ONS figures, the Department for Education (DfE) put out guidance saying children and young people should only self-isolate for three days if they test positive (not even if they just have symptoms) for coronavirus. It’s a policy that will likely further contribute to the rapid spread of the virus.

Meanwhile Dr Julia Grace Patterson of Every Doctor UK said about the organisation’s petition:

Senseless and irresponsible

An end to free testing at a time when infections have reached a record high is both senseless and irresponsible. And it has the potential to wreak havoc on public health in the UK. This is particularly egregious given the eye-watering amounts of public money spent on a test-and-trace system that was a resounding failure.

But the government continues to ignore calls to reinstate free testing and any other safety measures. The latest data on infection levels suggests that it’s certainly time to tone down optimistic talk about the end of the pandemic. Burying our head in the sand isn’t going to make it go away. The pandemic is still here, and until the government acts accordingly it’s putting the health of millions of people at risk.

Featured image via Wikimedia Commons/Ermell, cropped to 770 x 403, licenced under CC BY 4.0.

We need your help to keep speaking the truth

Every story that you have come to us with; each injustice you have asked us to investigate; every campaign we have fought; each of your unheard voices we amplified; we do this for you. We are making a difference on your behalf.

Our fight is your fight. You’ve supported our collective struggle every time you gave us a like; and every time you shared our work across social media. Now we need you to support us with a monthly donation.

We have published nearly 2,000 articles and over 50 films in 2021. And we want to do this and more in 2022 but we don’t have enough money to go on at this pace. So, if you value our work and want us to continue then please join us and be part of The Canary family.

In return, you get:

* Advert free reading experience
* Quarterly group video call with the Editor-in-Chief
* Behind the scenes monthly e-newsletter
* 20% discount in our shop

Almost all of our spending goes to the people who make The Canary’s content. So your contribution directly supports our writers and enables us to continue to do what we do: speaking truth, powered by you. We have weathered many attempts to shut us down and silence our vital opposition to an increasingly fascist government and right-wing mainstream media.

With your help we can continue:

* Holding political and state power to account
* Advocating for the people the system marginalises
* Being a media outlet that upholds the highest standards
* Campaigning on the issues others won’t
* Putting your lives central to everything we do

We are a drop of truth in an ocean of deceit. But we can’t do this without your support. So please, can you help us continue the fight?

The Canary Support us