More than £9 million has been spent on lateral flow tests in the island.

Lateral flow tests (LFTs) were introduced in the Isle of Man in June 2021.

They were free to the public until August 15 this year when the government followed the UK and brought in a fee.

Up until September 30 of this year, 3,107,922 individual tests and 70,000 packs of five have been distributed.

Approximately 3,266,100 individual tests and 70,000 packs of five have been purchased by the public.

The total cost of LFTs has been £9,072,127.48.

Individual test kits cost £2.45, and packs of five cost £11.75.

Delivery costs for these totalled £176,038.42. This was for transporting the tests to the Isle of Man by carrier or post.

The distribution costs to Isle of Man residents were significantly more, totalling £800,444.06.

When they were first brought in, LFTs were part of a ‘voluntary pilot scheme for Covid-19’.

The scheme saw students and school staff in the island given the opportunity to collect up to two lateral flow tests per week to take home and carry out.

At that point, their use had already been widely encouraged across the UK, where packs of seven tests were freely available for anyone who requested one.

They had been used in schools in the UK since March 2021.

Currently, there is an eligibility criteria for free LFTs.

Only health and social care staff, patients with a planned hospital admission, and anyone considered at high-risk of serious illness from Covid infection.

Patients with a planned hospital admission have their LFTs provided by the preoperative assessment clinic.

Health and social care staff continue to have access to free LFTs through their workplace.

Anyone who isn’t eligible for free tests can purchase them from local pharmacies and other high street retailers.

LFTs are no longer required to be taken before entering health and social care settings, including care or residential homes, dentists, GP surgeries or day clinics, unless you are asymptomatic.

However, the government advice for anyone showing symptoms of Covid is still to take an LFT test.