CBI calls for lateral flow testing to continue

The government must continue with free lateral flow testing to help maintain business confidence as it ends COVID restrictions, according to the Confederation of British Industry (CBI).

All Covid restrictions ended in England on 24 February and free mass testing will stop from 1 April.

The Prime Minister Boris Johnson told MPs the legal duty to isolate for those who tested positive would be dropped as he unveiled his ‘living with COVID’ plan.

From 1 April the provision of free testing would be targeted at the most vulnerable, Mr Johnson added.

Matthew Fell, CBI Chief Policy Director, said: ‘Living confidently with the virus means prioritising infrastructure over interventions, as the CBI has set out previously. The UK has developed a world-leading vaccine and anti-viral programme, and firms will welcome the government’s continued emphasis on these key pillars.

‘While free lateral flow testing cannot continue forever, there is a balance to be struck between confidence building and cost-cutting. Mass lateral flow testing has kept our economy open and firms continue to believe the economic benefits far outweigh the costs.

‘The government now needs to add further guidance on issues like sick pay and employer liability to avoid the risk of a legal vacuum. Many firms will continue to be cautious and use extra measures to protect their staff and customers, as they have from the outset.’

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