By Caillin McDaid
As of next Friday, lateral flow tests (LFT) will no longer be free in England prompting divided opinions amongst Sheffield’s students.
LFTs are commercially available now in stores like Boots, where single LFTs are being sold online for £5.99, or four for £17.
Amongst University of Sheffield students, a third said they would not pay for an LFT if they suspected they had Covid-19.
The other two-thirds were mixed, with students like Rebecca Mcphillips, 22, a journalism student, saying: “I’d only buy a test if I was seeing someone I’d be putting at risk.”
Other students like Laura Delaney, 20, a psychology student, said: “I can see it from both sides.
“I could afford to pay for a lateral flow but I know a lot of students and low-income families couldn’t.”
Regardless of whether or not they’d pay, the general consensus amongst students was that this was not the right time to start charging for tests and the results would be damaging.
Miss Mcphillips said: “It’s going to cause inconvenience for those who are chronically ill.
“I think it’s disgusting chronically ill people are being put at risk, and further oppressed and marginalised by the government.”
These opinions come at a time when case numbers are beginning to rise again and fears exist that things could get worse if people are testing less regularly. Cases in Sheffield are up over 50% this week from the previous week.
Landscape Architecture students Tim, 23, Angela, 25, and Camellia, 26, shared the opinion that it was the wrong time to begin charging for tests.
They said: “If people aren’t testing you could be hiding an invisible wave of the pandemic.
“It’s the Tories’ way of obscuring the number of cases.”
The government has said ‘personal responsibility is the best way to combat Covid-19 and that pharmaceutical intervention such as anti-virals and vaccines should be the primary line of defence.