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Tuesday, May 24, 2022

Covid test rule change coming into effect from 11 January.

People testing positive on a lateral flow device in England are no longer required to get a follow up PCR test if they don’t have symptoms.

The UK Health Agency explained the new process will come into effect from 11 January. The suspension of confirmatory PCR tests has come about because prevalence of covid cases due to Omicron is high, causing shortages of tests. The suspension will remain in place until prevalence of covid drops below 1 per cent. It’s currently at 4 per cent.

In the hope of bringing down transmission, government scientists would like individuals to self-isolate for the requested seven days as soon as they receive a positive LFT result. People who receive a positive result from an LFT should report their result on gov.uk.

Those who do test positive will be contacted by NHS Test and Trace so anyone in close contact with them can be asked to self-isolate. Those with covid symptoms including fever, new persistent cough or lack of taste or smell should still apply for a PCR test, even if a recent lateral flow test proved negative.

The UKHSA have explained the high prevalence of covid meant the chances of a false positive from a lateral flow test were very low, and that the devices’ accuracy was “very high”.

Critical workers will be able to take a test on each working day and the provision of precautionary testing will be for an initial five weeks, from 10 January.

UKHSA chief executive Dr Jenny Harries said: “While cases of Covid continue to rise, this tried-and-tested approach means that LFDs can be used confidently to indicate Covid-19 infection without the need for PCR confirmation.

“It remains really important that anyone who experiences Covid-19 symptoms self-isolates immediately. They should also order a PCR test on gov.uk, or by phoning 119.

“I’m really grateful to the public and all of our critical workers who continue to test regularly and self-isolate when necessary, along with other practical and important public health behaviours, as this is the most effective way of stopping the spread of the virus and keeping our friends, families and communities safe.”

There are exceptions to the new rule for people eligible for the £500 Test and Trace Support Payment (TTSP), who will still be asked to take a confirmatory PCR if they receive a positive LFD result, so they can get financial support.

Asian Standard understands one million people in England who are at particular risk of becoming seriously ill from Covid-19, also identified by the NHS as being potentially eligible for new treatments will receive a PCR test kit at home by mid-January if they develop symptoms or record a positive LFT result.

Anyone who tests positive on an LFT can leave self-isolation seven days after their first positive result if they test negative on days six and seven, otherwise they must quarantine until day 10.

https://www.gov.uk/coronavirus for more information



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