World Free Covid tests to be scrapped on the Isle of Man

10:01  13 august  2022
10:01  13 august  2022 Source:   bbc.com

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Most free Covid testing will be scrapped on the Isle of Man as part of a move to an "endemic approach" to the virus, the government has said.

The government has spent £8m on lateral flow tests since the pandemic began © PA Media The government has spent £8m on lateral flow tests since the pandemic began

From Monday only vulnerable people, health workers, and those due to have hospital treatment will be able to get free lateral flow tests (LFT).

Visitors to hospitals, care homes and the Isle of Man Prison will no longer be asked to take the tests in advance.

Manx Care is also set to limit who it offers PCR tests to from 31 August.

The health care provider said those tests will only be available to patients who need a result before being admitted for treatment in the UK, or those who are receiving rheumatology treatment.

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About 169,000 PCR tests have been performed since April 2020, which equates to about two tests per person on the Isle of Man.

Virus management

The move to scrap universal free tests comes as the island's population has "much stronger protection against Covid than at any other point in the pandemic", a government spokeswoman said.

This is due to vaccines, natural immunity, antiviral drugs and a better understanding of how to manage the virus, with further booster jabs to be offered from September, she added.

LFTs will be given directly to health and social care workers and patients due to undergo a hospital procedure, while those classed as "extremely clinically vulnerable" will be able to continue to order the kits online.

The Manx government has given out more than 3.7 million of the devices since the pandemic began, at a cost of £8m.

If the risk to the public increases through "another variant or a significant wave of Covid cases" then universal free tests will be reintroduced, the spokeswoman said.

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