'Scotland would have to pay for Covid testing', says Sajid Javid ahead of Nicola Sturgeon announcement

Scotland would have to pay for Covid testing if it took a different route from England, according to the UK Health secretary.

Sajid Javid’s comments come after Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced plans to scrap all restrictions in England.

Mr Johnson announced those in England who test positive for coronavirus will no longer be legally required to isolate from Thursday.

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The Prime Minister also confirmed free universal testing will end in April under his plan for “living with Covid”.

UK Health Secretary Sajid Javid said Scotland would have to pay for Covid testing ahead of Nicola Sturgeon speaking about Scotland's strategic framework in handling Covid at Parliament on Tuesday.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said Scotland would need clarity on the funding for Covid testing from the UK treasury as she is expected to maintain all Covid testing and isolation rules.

A Covid strategy for Scotland will be announced at Holyrood on Tuesday.

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Yet, Mr Javid told BBC Radio 4 on Tuesday morning: “If Scotland chooses to take a different route now when it comes to testing that of course is a decision for Scotland.

"Health is a devolved matter. They would pay for it in the same way that we pay for decisions in England”

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Mr Javid said because of the new Health and Social Care levy: “Scotland is to receive hundreds and millions of extra funding from that.”

However, Ms Sturgeon said it is the UK treasury who make funding decisions around Covid.

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Speaking on Tuesday, Ms Sturgeon said it would be ‘unacceptable’ if Covid funding for Scotland and other devolved nations is “constrained” on the basis of Covid decisions made by Boris Johnson for England.

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The UK Health Secretary named the decision around scrapping all restrictions for England ‘balanced and proportionate'.

Ms Sturgeon will outline Scotland’s strategic framework for handling Covid on Tuesday afternoon.

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Ms Sturgeon said: “There will be a lot of optimism around what I set out tomorrow, but I’ve got to be frank with people, we are still in a pandemic of this virus.

“We know from past experience that new variants, for example, can come about and cause new challenges.

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“So, we need to be vigilant about that and we need to be prepared about that, but we also need to manage that risk in a much less restrictive and more sustainable way for the future, so that we can all get back to normal, retain that sense of normality, even as we maintain that sense of vigilance."

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