Council dismisses calls to supply free Covid tests

By Carmelo Garcia   |   Local Democracy Reporter   |
Friday 1st April 2022 11:00 am
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Cllr Mark Hawthorne (Gloucestershire County Council )

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Gloucestershire County Council leaders have dismissed calls for the authority to provide free lateral flow tests to residents from April 1.

The Government is ending free symptomatic and asymptomatic testing for the general public from next month.

Limited symptomatic testing will be available for a small number of at-risk groups and will remain available to social care staff.

But opposition councillors are concerned about the impact this will have on monitoring Covid in Gloucestershire.

Liberal Democrat group leader Paul Hodgkinson (LD, Bourton-on-the-Water and Northleach) asked council leaders if they felt it was the right decision given the high numbers of cases currently in the county.

He also asked public health and communities cabinet member Tim Harman (C, Lansdown and Park) whether the council would follow the lead of Portsmouth City Council and supply free lateral flow for tests for residents who needed them from April 1.

Cllr Hodgkinson said: “Given the fact that hospitalisations to do with Covid in Gloucestershire are actually higher than they have been for some considerable time and tests are going to be charged for from April 1.

“Would you Tim, like to follow the example of Portsmouth Council who yesterday announced they will be supplying free lateral flow tests to all residents who need them.

Cllr Harman said: “I will look at what Portsmouth has done but I think at the moment, based on the current advice in Gloucestershire, I don’t think we will follow their way.”

Council leader Mark Hawthorne (C, Quedgeley) also said the data shows high cases are not resulting in high numbers of death and believes the Government is taking the right steps.

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