PCR tests for people not showing symptoms of Covid to be scrapped

Coronavirus testing rules for people with no symptoms are to be relaxed across the UK.

As of January 11, asymptomatic individuals in England who have tested positive with a lateral flow device (LFD) no longer require a confirmatory PCR test.

You still need to self-isolate immediately.

However, people with Covid-19 symptoms should still get a PCR test, according to the new rules.

A similar system will be rolled out immediately in Northern Ireland and from Thursday in Scotland and Wales.

Previously, those without symptoms who tested positive with lateral flow were asked to order a PCR test and only begin their isolation phase with the second result.

That meant they had to isolate for more than seven days – especially if there was a delay in confirming the result.

The move announced by the UK Health Authority (UKHSA) will free up capacity in laboratories for PCR testing for people with Covid-19 symptoms.

It is a temporary measure while Covid-19 rates remain high across the UK.

An estimated 3.7 million people in the UK had the virus in the week ended December 31, up from 2.3 million in the week ended December 23 and the highest number since comparable numbers began in fall 2020, the National Statistics Office said (ONS) with.

The Wales Minister of Health believes the change will reduce the demand for PCR testing by 5 to 15%.

Meanwhile, Professor John Edmunds, a member of the Sage government’s scientific advisory board, said, “This change makes a lot of sense. When the prevalence is high – and it’s incredibly high right now – almost anyone who tests positive with a lateral flow test will be really positive.

“You really don’t have to confirm that with a PCR, a step that not only wastes time, but also costs a lot of money and uses laboratory resources that could be better used elsewhere.”

Although Covid-19 levels are high, the “vast majority” of people with positive results can be confident they have the virus, officials said.


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