'Hung out to dry' - Lincolnshire man with lung condition opposes removal of covid restrictions

A man from Lincolnshire who is awaiting a lung transplant and has been shielding for two years can't believe that the self-isolation rules have been lifted.

Ron Flewtt has a debilitating lung condition - he's classed as extremely clinically vulnerable - and relies on oxygen 24 hours a day.

"They could have kept a couple of restrictions to protect people who are clinically extremely vulnerable," he said.

"Even if it was just wearing a mask in a shop I would feel safer in a shop but as it stands lifting all the restrictions, people not being tested, I can't afford to even go shopping."

His wife Maxine says that vulnerable people have been "hung out to dry".

All coronavirus laws in England including the legal requirement for people who test positive to isolate will end on Thursday.

On Monday, Prime Minister Boris Johnson set out the strategy for “living with Covid”, which also includes plans to scrap free universal testing in April.

One Lincolnshire GP believes that people will be responsible and stay at home if they get the virus.

Dr Kieran Sharrock said: "Well I'm sure that people will still do the responsible thing because people know that there are vulnerable patients out there, who if they get the virus will become very sick.

"But that's easier to do if you're in a well-paid job. If you have a low income and you have to go to work you're less likely to report that you've got symptoms."

On Monday, England’s chief medical officer Professor Sir Chris Whitty said people should still isolate if they have Covid-19 despite the legal requirement ending.

People aged 75 and over, the immunosuppressed and those living in care homes will be offered another Covid-19 booster vaccine this spring under the plans.

Free universal testing will be massively scaled back from April 1 and will instead be focused on the most vulnerable, with the UK Health Security Agency set to determine the details, while asymptomatic testing will continue for social care staff.

People will have to pay for lateral flow tests from April 1.

Anne says that she will have to swallow the costs of taking covid tests. Credit: ITV News

Anne Wilkinson, who is a mobile hairdresser from Harrogate, feels that she has a moral duty to protect her clients and so will feel the effects of having to pay for tests.

She said: "The impact on our business, being a close contact personal service is phenomenal because people are very very frightened.

"The lateral flows I'm going to obviously have to still do to protect my clients so I'm going to have to swallow the costs."

Mr Johnson acknowledged there is likely to be another variant that will “cause us trouble”, saying he did not want people to think “there’s some division between the gung ho politicians and the cautious, anxious scientists”.

He said: “The most important thing is that – and I hope this is the big take-out from this – the sun is shining but we’re keeping our umbrella.”

But the British Medical Association warned that the “living with Covid” strategy “fails to protect those at highest risk of harm from Covid-19, and neglects some of the most vulnerable people in society”.

Groups representing vulnerable individuals also sounded the alarm over the end to isolation laws, with the Scope disability equality charity saying it would usher in a life “living with fear”.