'Now is not the time to stem the lateral flow'

The government has denied a report that free lateral flow tests could end

The government has denied a report that free lateral flow tests could end - Credit: André Langlois

At some point the government began providing a placebo to help with my lockdown deliveries addiction. 

No longer would I hunt obscure band T-shirts with such verve, or make well-intentioned book purchases to add to the bedside stack. 

After some mercifully simple form filling, Mr Johnson’s medical elves would pop in the post a box of testing kits. 

It was weeks before the forlorn Amazon man was invited back. 

The testing kits could be assembled like Kinder Egg toys, with just enough thought involved to constitute an “activity”, but not enough challenge to provoke a tantrum. 

“Lateral flow” (which, incidentally, would be a good rap name) had entered our lives, our vocabulary expanding as rapidly as our appreciation of graphs. 

No longer were we fearful of poking sticks up our nostrils. Now, it was a source of comfort, science in our nose, and routine observation of that little red line. 

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“C”, we learn, does not stand for “Covid”, or even “coronavirus”, but “control”. And it is good news for anyone with social ambitions or hoping for a quiet pint. 

Lines next to “C” and “T” is bad news and means you can take action to avoid killing a stranger or a family member. 

I never hoarded the testing box sets. I place an order when down to the last few nose sticks. 

They give peace of mind and enable us to make informed and responsible decisions. 

The Sunday Times has reported that the government – which denies the claim –  will announce the end of free universal tests within weeks.

The cost to the taxpayer has to be considered of course, with the paper quoting a figure of £6bn so far, but ending the provision prematurely – driven by a confidence drawn from the current milder variant – would have a massive human cost. 

Lockdown was a boon for Amazon delivery centres

Lockdown was a boon for Amazon delivery centres - Credit: PA

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