COVID-19, News & Updates

Dido Harding: ‘Moonshot’ Covid-19 Tests should be paid by the Public

People who carry no coronavirus symptoms must pay for ‘Operation Moonshot’ tests, the director of the government’s testing program said.

Dido Harding mentioned in a meeting of business leaders that not all the planned 15-minute checks may be available for free on the NHS. People who wanted to show that they could resume a “normal life” without the risk of spreading the virus would be paid, a webinar hosted by the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) was told.

“For that sort of test that may be a normal cost of doing business to be able to have non-socially distanced activities, but that’s different than for symptomatic people who should always feel like they can come to an NHS service,” Ms. Harding stated.

The government stated that moonshot tests (which don’t exist yet) could potentially reduce the need for social distancing in work, thus increasing office capacity.

But health experts warned that the mass testing program – which aims to provide ten million tests a day costing £100 – is “not feasible” and shows a “massive gamble.”

Though, a spokesperson has confirmed that other options are being explored: “Deploying the next generation of tests, which may reduce the need for social distancing in specific circumstances, will require a collaboration between businesses, Government and the NHS.”

The shadow minister for public health said that Ms. Harding’s statements suggested the program had risked creating a ‘two-tier pay-to-hug’ system.

Alex Norris MP noted: “Instead of threatening to charge people for coronavirus tests, the government should be focused on fixing the system.

“The current testing fiasco will not be sorted by creating a two-tier ‘pay-to-hug’ system for families across the country.

“When Boris Johnson makes his statement tomorrow he needs to rule this proposal out and put forward a credible plan to expand testing.”

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