In what may be a sign of things to come, arch-lockdown fanatic Michael Gove has begun to pivot, contradicting Education Secretary Nadhim Zahawi by refusing to rule out the end of free lateral flow tests and saying the pressure on the NHS is “abating”. “We are moving to a situation where it is possible to say that we can live with Covid,” the Housing Secretary said. Sky News has the story.
But when asked by Kay Burley on Monday for how long the [lateral flow] devices will remain free for all, Mr Gove said: “It is the case that in this country lateral flows are free – unlike in many other jurisdictions – they are a vital tool in making sure that we can curb the spread of the infection and also that people who need to isolate do so.
“But, as you pointed out right at the beginning of our conversation, we are moving to a situation – we are not there yet – but we are moving to a situation where it is possible to say that we can live with Covid and that the pressure on the NHS and on vital public services is abating.
“But, it is absolutely vital to recognise that we are not there yet. And as the health secretary has reminded us there will be some difficult weeks ahead and that is why we all need to continue to test, continue – if we are positive – to isolate, and continue broadly to support the NHS as it goes through a challenging period but one in which the frontline professionals are doing an amazing job.”
Pressed once more on whether the Government is considering phasing out lateral flow tests but not for the coming weeks, Mr Gove replied: “As the Prime Minister and others have said, we will do whatever it takes.”