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Britons flocking abroad for an Easter getaway are facing ‘absolute chaos’ at Manchester Airport today, while easyJet passengers contend with cancelled flights and motorists tackle two hour long queues at the port of Dover. 

Airline passengers are reporting huge queues at Manchester Airport – the UK’s third busiest – for the third day in the row.

Pictures show long lines of people queuing for security this morning, while passengers have bemoaned a lack of organisation at check-in gates. 

Images from over the weekend showed huge queues, chaos at security and overflowing baggage areas at the airport. 

Are you impacted by today’s travel chaos? 

Share your story with me via email: [email protected] 

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There was also reports of disruption at Heathrow Airport, which last week faced its own chaos after a major BA IT meltdown.

It comes as budget airline easyJet has today cancelled up to 100 flights due to Covid-enforced staff shortages. The airline has axed at least 222 trips axed since Friday.

BA has also cancelled at least five flights to European destinations, including Paris and Oslo this morning from Heathrow Terminal 5 today.

Meanwhile, drivers have this morning reported two-hour long waits for the Port of Dover. Gridlocked traffic around Dover, poor conditions in the Channel and the suspension of P&O services caused delays of up to nine hours at the Kent port over the weekend.

Eurotunnel services, meanwhile, are also delayed by up to three hours today due to a train that has come to a halt in the Channel Tunnel. Passenger service Eurostar, which uses the same tunnel, also has delays on its services, according to its website.

Airport disruption, meanwhile, is being blamed on Covid-enforced staff shortages, with Manchester Airport yesterday saying it was exploring the possibility of bringing in short-term agency staff to help bring the chaos under control.

Though all Covid restrictions – as well as testing and self-isolation requirements – have been lifted in England, as many as 4.9million are now thought to be infected with the virus, according to the UK’s biggest Covid surveillance scheme.

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) estimated more than 4.1million people had the virus on any given day over the week to March 26, equivalent to one in 13 being infected.

Airline passengers are reporting huge queues at Manchester Airport - the UK's third busiest - for the third day in the row

Airline passengers are reporting huge queues at Manchester Airport - the UK's third busiest - for the third day in the row

Airline passengers are reporting huge queues at Manchester Airport – the UK’s third busiest – for the third day in the row

Pictures show long lines of people queuing for security this morning, while passengers have bemoaned a lack of organisation at check-in gates

Pictures show long lines of people queuing for security this morning, while passengers have bemoaned a lack of organisation at check-in gates

Pictures show long lines of people queuing for security this morning, while passengers have bemoaned a lack of organisation at check-in gates

Passengers said they faced 'absolute chaos' at Manchester Airport this morning, with long queues at security (pictured)

Passengers said they faced 'absolute chaos' at Manchester Airport this morning, with long queues at security (pictured)

Passengers said they faced ‘absolute chaos’ at Manchester Airport this morning, with long queues at security (pictured)

Passengers posted video on social media this morning of huge long queues at Manchester Airport today

Passengers posted video on social media this morning of huge long queues at Manchester Airport today

The video showed long queues snaking around the airport, reportedly for security

The video showed long queues snaking around the airport, reportedly for security

Passengers posted video on social media this morning of huge long queues at Manchester Airport today. A Manchester Airport spokesperson admitted the service was short-staffed and said on Sunday: ‘We apologise to passengers whose experience at Manchester Airport has fallen short of the standards they expected. ‘As we recover from the impact of the coronavirus pandemic, our whole industry is facing staff shortages and recruitment challenges. ‘As a result we are advising customers that security queues may be longer than usual, and we encourage them to arrive at the earliest time recommended by their airline.

There was also reports of disruption at Heathrow Airport, which last week faced its own chaos after a major BA IT meltdown. Pictured: Queues at Heathrow Terminal 2 this morning

There was also reports of disruption at Heathrow Airport, which last week faced its own chaos after a major BA IT meltdown. Pictured: Queues at Heathrow Terminal 2 this morning

There was also reports of disruption at Heathrow Airport, which last week faced its own chaos after a major BA IT meltdown. Pictured: Queues at Heathrow Terminal 2 this morning

Meanwhile, drivers have this morning reported two-hour long waits for the Port of Dover (pictured: Queues on the M20 at Maidstone today). Gridlocked traffic around Dover, poor conditions in the Channel and the suspension of P&O services caused delays of up to nine hours at the Kent port over the weekend

Meanwhile, drivers have this morning reported two-hour long waits for the Port of Dover (pictured: Queues on the M20 at Maidstone today). Gridlocked traffic around Dover, poor conditions in the Channel and the suspension of P&O services caused delays of up to nine hours at the Kent port over the weekend

Meanwhile, drivers have this morning reported two-hour long waits for the Port of Dover (pictured: Queues on the M20 at Maidstone today). Gridlocked traffic around Dover, poor conditions in the Channel and the suspension of P&O services caused delays of up to nine hours at the Kent port over the weekend

It comes as passengers said they faced ‘absolute chaos’ at Manchester Airport this morning, with long queues at security.  

EasyJet cancels more than 220 flights due to Covid staff shortages to leave some passengers stranded amid airport chaosTLE

EasyJet has cancelled more than 220 flights, blaming the disruption on high levels of staff sickness due to Covid.

At least 222 flights have been axed since Friday, including 62 that had been scheduled for Monday alone, the majority of which were cancelled at short notice on Saturday.

Covid infection numbers are some of the highest they have been since the start of the pandemic. 

An EasyJet spokesperson said: ‘As a result of the current high rates of Covid infections across Europe, like all businesses EasyJet is experiencing higher than usual levels of employee sickness. 

‘We have taken action to mitigate this through the rostering of additional standby crew this weekend, however, with the current levels of sickness we have also decided to make some cancellations in advance.’

They said the focus was on ‘consolidating flights where we have multiple frequencies so customers have more options to rebook their travel, often on the same day.’

They added: ‘Unfortunately it has been necessary to make some additional cancellations for today and tomorrow. 

‘We are sorry for any inconvenience this may cause to customers on affected flights.

‘We have made 62 preemptive cancellations for flights to and from the UK for tomorrow which represents a small proportion tomorrow’s total flying programme which was planned to be more than 1645 flights. 

‘We cancelled the majority of these yesterday.’

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One passenger, sharing a picture of the queues, said: ‘5.30am and absolute chaos in Manchester Airport. No organisation whatsoever! Lots missing flights.’  

Another, sharing a video, said: ‘Manchester Airport. ‘This is the current line for security at Terminal 2 this morning. What is happening?’.  

It comes after shocking images showed huge disruption at Manchester Airport over the weekend.

On Twitter, one user posted on Sunday: ‘Manchester Airport not ideal as it’s so busy. Well done as it’s organised and amazing staff are smiling through abuse and announcements etc… Gutted about our fast track passes and not being able to use them.’

A Manchester Airport spokesperson admitted the service was short-staffed and said on Sunday: ‘We apologise to passengers whose experience at Manchester Airport has fallen short of the standards they expected.

‘As we recover from the impact of the coronavirus pandemic, our whole industry is facing staff shortages and recruitment challenges.

‘As a result we are advising customers that security queues may be longer than usual, and we encourage them to arrive at the earliest time recommended by their airline.

‘Due to the security checks and training associated with these roles, it takes time to for people to be able to start work in our operation

‘That is why we are exploring a number of short-term measures to deliver the best possible service we can, such as the use of agency staff and different ways in which existing colleagues can support our operation.

‘We are aware similar challenges are being faced by airlines and third parties, such as baggage handling agents, operating on our site.

‘Together, we are working hard to deliver the best possible service we can in the circumstances, and to resolve these issues as quickly as possible.’

Meanwhile, easyJet has cancelled around 100 flights on Monday, including 62 from the UK. The budge airline said higher than usual levels of staff absence due to Covid was to blame.

EasyJet – which is one of Europe’s biggest airlines – said the cancellations were a small part of its schedule on Monday, which is around 1,645 flights.  

But it has left passengers facing long delays. One passenger, who was due to fly from Belfast Airport with easyJet this morning, said on Twitter: ‘First trip overseas since COVID. It’s going well… easyJet cancel flight at five hours notice. 

Manchester Airport apologised for its services over the weekend after staff shortages led to hours of delays for passengers checking in

Manchester Airport apologised for its services over the weekend after staff shortages led to hours of delays for passengers checking in

Manchester Airport apologised for its services over the weekend after staff shortages led to hours of delays for passengers checking in

Large queues were reported at Manchester Airport on Sunday as the first April weekend got off to a difficult start

Large queues were reported at Manchester Airport on Sunday as the first April weekend got off to a difficult start

Large queues were reported at Manchester Airport on Sunday as the first April weekend got off to a difficult start

Alison Unwin, 60, also saw scores of uncollected bags in Manchester Airport - from flights which landed the day before - strewn around the reclaim hall in Terminal 3

Alison Unwin, 60, also saw scores of uncollected bags in Manchester Airport - from flights which landed the day before - strewn around the reclaim hall in Terminal 3

Alison Unwin, 60, also saw scores of uncollected bags in Manchester Airport – from flights which landed the day before – strewn around the reclaim hall in Terminal 3

On Twitter, one user posted on Sunday: 'Manchester Airport not ideal as it's so busy. Well done as it's organised and amazing staff are smiling through abuse and announcements etc... Gutted about our fast track passes and not being able to use them.'

On Twitter, one user posted on Sunday: 'Manchester Airport not ideal as it's so busy. Well done as it's organised and amazing staff are smiling through abuse and announcements etc... Gutted about our fast track passes and not being able to use them.'

Those taking ferries to France have fared litter better. Some lorry drivers reported up to two hour delays in getting to the Port of Dover this morning. One wrote on Twitter: 'Update… almost two hours after entering Dover I’m almost at check in.'

Those taking ferries to France have fared litter better. Some lorry drivers reported up to two hour delays in getting to the Port of Dover this morning. One wrote on Twitter: 'Update… almost two hours after entering Dover I’m almost at check in.'

On Twitter, one user posted on Sunday: ‘Manchester Airport not ideal as it’s so busy. Well done as it’s organised and amazing staff are smiling through abuse and announcements etc… Gutted about our fast track passes and not being able to use them.’ Those taking ferries to France have fared litter better. Some lorry drivers reported up to two hour delays in getting to the Port of Dover this morning. One wrote on Twitter: ‘Update… almost two hours after entering Dover I’m almost at check in.’

Massive traffic queues were seen in Dover yesterday as a shortage of ferry services meant severe delays for HGV drivers. Drivers are reporting a two hour delay today

Massive traffic queues were seen in Dover yesterday as a shortage of ferry services meant severe delays for HGV drivers. Drivers are reporting a two hour delay today

Massive traffic queues were seen in Dover yesterday as a shortage of ferry services meant severe delays for HGV drivers. Drivers are reporting a two hour delay today

‘Result: A 10 hour delay and 2.00 am arrival in our hotel Now just been charged £14 for a pint and a G&T in the grimiest airport I’ve been in since the year dot. Sigh.’

Eurotunnel passengers face three-hour delays after train is halted in the Channel Tunnel 

Eurotunnel passengers face a three hour delay on Monday morning due a train being halted in the Channel Tunnel.

Eurotunnel – the vehicle carrying railway tunnel that connects Folkestone with Coquelles beneath the English Channel – is reporting a three hour delay to services. 

The travel firm, which is separate from the passenger-only Eurostar service, said it was due to a train stopped in the tunnel. 

‘Due to a train stopped temporarily in the tunnel, our service is currently experiencing delays. Please check-in as planned. Apologies for this,’ Eurotunnel said on Twitter.

Passenger service Eurostar, which operates trains between London St Pancras and Europe, and which uses the same tunnels, also has delays, according to its website though has yet to post any updates on its Twitter page. 

A delay warning on its website says: ‘Your train has been delayed because part of the track is temporarily closed in the Channel Tunnel. Speed restrictions are in place. We are sorry for the impact this may have on your plans.’

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A spokesperson for easyJet told the BBC: ‘As a result of the current high rates of Covid infections across Europe, like all businesses, easyJet is experiencing higher than usual levels of employee sickness.

‘Unfortunately it has been necessary to make some additional cancellations for today and tomorrow. We are sorry for any inconvenience this may cause.’

Meanwhile, BA has cancelled at least half a dozen flights from Heathrow Terminal 5 today. Flights to Paris, Marseille, Toulouse, Oslo and Krakow are among those cancelled today.

Away from airports, those taking ferries to France have fared litter better. Some lorry drivers reported up to two hour delays in getting to the Port of Dover this morning.

One wrote on Twitter: ‘Update… almost two hours after entering Dover I’m almost at check in.’

Gridlocked traffic the Kent port, along with poor sea conditions in the Channel and the suspension of P&O services following its recent staffing row resulted in nine hour delays yesterday.

The British Ports Association told The Times that it expected congestion to ease but that disruption would continue until the middle of the week.  

Richard Ballantyne, head of the British Ports Association, told the BBC: ‘Yesterday (Saturday) we were up to nine-hour queues outside the port. 

‘Traffic measures are in place, which… are working fairly well and it enables other people around east Kent and businesses, residents etc to move around freely. But [it is] not a good position if you’re stuck in a vehicle for six to eight hours.’

Today, to add to the chaos, Eurotunnel – a vehicle carrying railway tunnel that connects Folkestone with Coquelles beneath the English Channel – is reporting a three hour delay to services. The travel firm said it was due to a train stopped in the tunnel. 

‘Due to a train stopped temporarily in the tunnel, our service is currently experiencing delays. Please check-in as planned. Apologies for this,’ Eurotunnel said on Twitter.

Passenger service Eurostar, which operates trains between London St Pancras and Europe, and which uses the same tunnels, also has delays, according to its website though has yet to post any updates on its Twitter page.

A delay warning on its website says: ‘Your train has been delayed because part of the track is temporarily closed in the Channel Tunnel. Speed restrictions are in place. We are sorry for the impact this may have on your plans.’

Today, to add to the chaos, Eurotunnel - a vehicle carrying railway tunnel that connects Folkestone with Coquelles beneath the English Channel - is reporting a three hour delay to services. The travel firm said it was due to a train stopped in the tunnel

Today, to add to the chaos, Eurotunnel - a vehicle carrying railway tunnel that connects Folkestone with Coquelles beneath the English Channel - is reporting a three hour delay to services. The travel firm said it was due to a train stopped in the tunnel

Today, to add to the chaos, Eurotunnel – a vehicle carrying railway tunnel that connects Folkestone with Coquelles beneath the English Channel – is reporting a three hour delay to services. The travel firm said it was due to a train stopped in the tunnel

Passenger service Eurostar, which operates trains between London St Pancras and Europe, and which uses the same tunnels, also has delays, according to its website though has yet to post any updates on its Twitter page

Passenger service Eurostar, which operates trains between London St Pancras and Europe, and which uses the same tunnels, also has delays, according to its website though has yet to post any updates on its Twitter page

Passenger service Eurostar, which operates trains between London St Pancras and Europe, and which uses the same tunnels, also has delays, according to its website though has yet to post any updates on its Twitter page

It comes as the biggest Covid surveillance in the UK suggested that Covid is now more rife in England than at any other time during the virus crisis.

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) last week estimated more than 4.1million people had the virus on any given day over the week to March 26, equivalent to one in 13 being infected.

The figure is the highest ever recorded in England, topping the previous peak of 3.7m at the height of the Omicron wave in January. It is also 18 per cent higher than a fortnight ago.

In the most Covid-ridden towns of Bournemouth, Poole and Christchurch, as many as one in nine people were thought to have the virus. And infections have soared to pandemic highs in all over-35s.

Britain’s outbreak as a whole is also bigger than ever, with 4.9m now thought to be infected — up from 4.3m last week.

Statisticians said England’s surge was being driven by the more transmissible version of Omicron, scientifically named BA. Although, ministers admit that ditching the final Covid restrictions last month also fueled the uptick.

Despite the mass testing project warning that cases show no signs of slowing yet, top scientists are hopeful that the worst may be over. Official numbers — reliant on people getting tested, as opposed to random swabbing — have been falling for a week, bolstering hopes that the virus was running out of steam.

Hospitalisations are still ticking upwards, but official figures suggest about half of admissions are now ‘incidental’ — when someone is admitted to hospital for something else such as a fall but then tests positive for Covid. NHS intensive care rates have barely budged, despite cases continuing to soar.

The record-breaking cases were revealed on the day England entered a ‘new era’ of the pandemic, with millions no longer able to get free Covid swabs to check whether they have the virus for the first time in a year.

Experts last week argued the timing of the end of free testing ‘couldn’t really be worse’, and that the country would now have to rely on the public ‘doing the right thing’ and getting tested when unwell. A chorus of gloomy Government advisers last week issued a string of new warnings about the pressure on the health service.

But ministers have insisted it is the ‘right’ moment to scrap the mass-testing regime, which cost No10 up to £2bn-a-month. Only the most vulnerable and health care workers are still able to get free swabs.

  • Are you impacted by today’s travel disruption? Share your story with me via email: [email protected] 

Covid is now more prevalent than EVER in England… Official statistics show 4.1million people – or one in 13 – were infected last week as country enters new phase of pandemic with free tests axed

By Luke Andrews, Health Reporter for MailOnline

Covid is now more rife in England than at any other time during the virus crisis, the biggest Covid surveillance scheme suggested last week.

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) estimated more than 4.1million people had the virus on any given day over the week to March 26, equivalent to one in 13 being infected.

The figure is the highest ever recorded in England, topping the previous peak of 3.7m at the height of the Omicron wave in January. It is also 18 per cent higher than a fortnight ago.

In the most Covid-ridden towns of Bournemouth, Poole and Christchurch, as many as one in nine people were thought to have the virus. And infections have soared to pandemic highs in all over-35s.

Britain’s outbreak as a whole is also bigger than ever, with 4.9m now thought to be infected — up from 4.3m last week.

Statisticians said England’s surge was being driven by the more transmissible version of Omicron, scientifically named BA. Although, ministers admit that ditching the final Covid restrictions last month also fueled the uptick.

Despite the mass testing project warning that cases show no signs of slowing yet, top scientists are hopeful that the worst may be over. Official numbers — reliant on people getting tested, as opposed to random swabbing — have been falling for a week, bolstering hopes that the virus was running out of steam.

Hospitalisations are still ticking upwards, but official figures suggest about half of admissions are now ‘incidental’ — when someone is admitted to hospital for something else such as a fall but then tests positive for Covid. NHS intensive care rates have barely budged, despite cases continuing to soar.

The record-breaking cases were revealed on the day England entered a ‘new era’ of the pandemic, with millions no longer able to get free Covid swabs to check whether they have the virus for the first time in a year.

Experts last week argued the timing of the end of free testing ‘couldn’t really be worse’, and that the country would now have to rely on the public ‘doing the right thing’ and getting tested when unwell. A chorus of gloomy Government advisers last week issued a string of new warnings about the pressure on the health service.

But ministers have insisted it is the ‘right’ moment to scrap the mass-testing regime, which cost No10 up to £2bn-a-month. Only the most vulnerable and health care workers are still able to get free swabs.

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) estimated more than 4.1million people had the virus on any given day over the week to March 26, equivalent to one in 13 being infected. The figure is the highest ever recorded in England, topping the previous peak of 3.7m at the height of the Omicron wave in January. It is also 18 per cent higher than last week

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) estimated more than 4.1million people had the virus on any given day over the week to March 26, equivalent to one in 13 being infected. The figure is the highest ever recorded in England, topping the previous peak of 3.7m at the height of the Omicron wave in January. It is also 18 per cent higher than last week

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) estimated more than 4.1million people had the virus on any given day over the week to March 26, equivalent to one in 13 being infected. The figure is the highest ever recorded in England, topping the previous peak of 3.7m at the height of the Omicron wave in January. It is also 18 per cent higher than last week

The ONS survey is seen as the gold-standard for tracking the pandemic by ministers because it relies on more than 100,000 random swabs, meaning it can reach groups which would normally avoid getting tested.

From last week it became England’s main method for monitoring Covid outbreaks, with the universal testing offer coming to an end.

But it lags about a week behind the situation on the ground. And it is also set to be scaled down in the coming weeks under Government plans. 

Results from the ONS survey also revealed infections have hit a record-high in Wales, where one in 14 people now have the virus (212,000 cases last week).

Scotland recorded the highest infection rate in the country with one in 12 having Covid (451,000), but this was down five per cent on last week’s record.  Northern Ireland saw its cases rise 13 per cent to one in 15 being infected (123,000).

In England, all legal Covid requirements came to an end in February, although guidance to wear face coverings in crowded places and isolate when suffering symptoms or testing positive is still in place. The same approach is in place in Northern Ireland.

And guidance is similar in Wales, after laws to wear masks and isolate after testing positive were scrapped on Monday. But people are still told to wear masks in health and social care settings.

But rules are stricter in Scotland, where laws set out that individuals must wear masks in shops, hospitality venues and on public transport. And infected people are still required to isolate for at least seven days. 

Kara Steel, senior statistician for the ONS Covid survey, said: ‘Infection levels remain high, with the highest levels recorded in our survey seen in England and Wales and notable increases among older age groups.

‘The rapid rise continues to be fuelled by the growth of the Omicron BA.2 variant across the UK.

‘We continue to closely monitor the data and remain thankful to all of our participants for their contribution.’

ONS statistics showed cases rose across all regions of England last week and among over-25s.

They reached record levels among over-50s, who are most vulnerable to the virus.

But in a sign the wave may be slowing cases plateaued among the under-25s, who have had the highest infection rates throughout much of the pandemic.

Professor James Naismith, director of Oxford University’s Rosalind Franklin Institute said the figures showed BA.2 ‘is extremely good at infecting people’.

‘It remains my view that unless you are completely shielded or are not susceptible to the virus, by the summer you are more likely to have been infected with BA.2 than not,’ he said.

‘No part of the UK has currently implemented effective control measures, the limit on prevalence of the virus is simply the proportion of susceptible people.

‘This is literally living with the virus by being infected with it.

‘Omicron BA.2 is less severe but the main reason we have endured this wave with many fewer deaths is vaccination. Vaccination has meant the elderly and vulnerable have been able to fight off this virus without very serious illness after being infected.’

He added: ‘With such a high prevalence, as a country we have decided to run a long covid19 experiment. Long covid19 is recognised illness and there are now some clear markers for the disease.

‘It seems likely with some evidence but not yet conclusively proven that vaccination significantly reduces the likelihood and severity of long covid, more work on long covid is urgently needed.

‘The safety and efficacy of vaccines have been proven beyond any doubt.’

Meanwhile, daily Government data shows the UK’s Covid cases have now fallen for five days in a row.

UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) dashboard data showed another 69,811 infections were logged in the last 24 hours, which was down nine per cent on last Friday.

Deaths continued to rise, however, with 191 recorded today — up 11 per cent on the same time last week. Another 2,509 hospitalisations with the virus were also recorded on March 28, the latest date available, up 12 per cent in a week and the most since late December at the height of the Omicron wave. 

The UKHSA data suggest cases have now fallen for six days in a row.

They differ from the ONS in that they are based on the number of positive tests reported nationally, and that they are released every day rather than every week.

But they are a potential early signal that the current wave may already be slowing down.  

Sir Patrick, the Government’s chief scientific adviser, yesterday told MPs earlier today that ‘infections are beginning to turn so we may be quite close to, or at, the peak and it may start coming down shortly’.

But other top scientists today warned the health service is under severe pressure and Britons should continue to wear masks to limit the spread of the virus, the day before free Covid tests for all is scrapped.

Sir Chris Whitty, England’s chief medical officer, told a conference: ‘The waves are still occurring.’ He added they will ‘certainly’ continue. 

And Dame Jenny Harries, head of the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA), called for the nation to keep wearing face masks because infection rates are so high. 

She said that Britons should be ‘very sensible and take precautions in periods of high prevalence as we have now’.

The record high ONS case rates come as the universal testing offer is dropped in England after it cost £2billion-a-month to run in January.

Professor Tim Spector from King’s College London, who runs the Zoe Covid tracking app, said the timing of the end of free testing ‘couldn’t really be worse’.

He warned England was now in a situation of ‘having to rely on the public to actually do the right thing and get these tests themselves when they get sick’.

He told Times Radio that ‘if we’re not having free testing, let’s have a clear policy on how you would know that you’re infected, and therefore you can self-isolate.

‘To do that, the Government needs to admit that the symptoms of Covid have changed in the last two years, and that 80 per cent of people now present with cold-like symptoms.

‘And there should be a public health campaign to say at the moment, when your chances of having Covid are greater than a cold…test if you can afford it – (and) even if you can’t – assume you’ve got Covid.’ 

Scotland is not ending its free testing offer until next month, while in Wales the swabs will be offered until July. There are no plans yet to end mass testing in Northern Ireland.

The ZOE Symptom study app estimated there were 349,000 new Covid cases every day over the week to 29 March.

This was up seven per cent on the previous week, and suggested one in 15 people in the UK currently has Covid.

Professor Spector said cases were continuing to soar to ‘all time highs’ but that the slowing in the rate of increase was a promising sign. 

On Thursday, Health Secretary Sajid Javid said people must ‘learn to live with Covid’ as campaigners criticised the end of free testing.

He told reporters: ‘We are one of the most open and free countries in the world now, and that’s because of decisions that we’ve taken as a country… and it is right also as we learn to live with Covid that we withdraw free testing – universally… if it’s not needed any more, but we focus those resources on the people that need it most. And that’s what we’re doing.’

But Carers UK and the Alzheimer’s Society criticised the move, with the latter saying it ‘risks gambling’ with the lives of people living with dementia.

The Alzheimer’s Society has been campaigning to keep lateral flow tests free for all people visiting loved ones in care homes.

While free testing ends in England, it will continue during April in Scotland and Northern Ireland, and until the summer in Wales.

The most recent data shows there were 15,632 people in hospital in England with Covid-19 as of Wednesday, up 18 per cent week on week and the highest since January 19. 

 

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Source: dailymail

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