Your article (Airlines warn the cost of Covid tests will stop people going abroad, 9 April) considers the cost of Covid tests for a family, calculated as the cost of a single test, multiplied by the number in the travel group.
But the tests are to detect if any person in the group has the virus. Hence in principle, the samples from all persons in a travel group could be combined into one single sample tube, which is then tested with a single test. A positive result would then show that somebody in the group had Covid, thereby preventing the whole group from travelling. This would allow costs to be reduced for each travel group.
“One in 10 positive results are likely to be accurate,” says your report (Rapid Covid testing in England may be scaled back over false positives, 15 April). So who is profiting from this? Why are we not investing in NHS labs and improving our infrastructure in public health? It’s the public health departments in local authorities that have succeeded in tracing contacts and they need rewarding and investing in, not call centres and dodgy testing facilities.
The evidence is clear from the NHS vaccination rollout, where some doctors, like my sister, volunteered to vaccinate: it need not be costly if there is good infrastructure and goodwill. The test-and-trace service is costing £160,000 to find a positive case. The NHS could do with that money to sort out waiting lists for operations and mental health, not a Tory crony.
St Andrews, Fife