Big change to isolation and testing rules in England announced

People in England who become infected with Covid but have no symptoms will not need to take a PCR test after Jan 11, as announced.

Currently, anyone who tests positive with a lateral flow test at home should have a PCR test done at a nearby center – but that requirement is to be removed, reports The mirror.

Moving will reduce isolation time – as the seven-day isolation period begins when you get the positive test result at home instead of waiting 48 hours to take a test at a center and get the result back.

And the change, approved by the UK Health Authority, will ease the tremendous pressure on PCR testing as Omicron saw a surge in demand.

People with Covid symptoms will still be asked to have a PCR test regardless of whether they have a lateral flow result.

Today’s change has been confirmed for England.

The change announced today is only temporary and follow-up PCR testing will be brought back when the worst Omicron wave is over.

PCR tests are restored when the prevalence drops to or below about 1%. It is currently believed to be 4% or more.

UKHSA Managing Director Dame Jenny Harries said: “As cases of Covid continue to increase, this proven approach means that LFDs can be safely used to indicate Covid-19 infection without the need for PCR confirmation.

“It remains really important that anyone experiencing Covid-19 symptoms isolate themselves immediately. You should also order a PCR test on gov.uk or by calling 119.

“I am really grateful to the public and to all of our critical contributors who continue to test regularly and self-isolate if necessary, along with other practical and important public health behaviors as this is the most effective way to keep the virus from spreading stop virus protection and protect our friends, families and communities. “

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