PCR test no longer needed to confirm Covid results

From today, people who receive a positive lateral flow test will no longer need to take a PCR test to confirm that they have Covid.

This is a temporary measure as Covid numbers are so high, a positive lateral flow test is a reliable indicator that the person taking the test is infected.

People who receive a positive lateral flow test are advised to self-isolate immediately for the required period and report the results online or by calling 119 (free from mobiles and landlines).

Reporting results is vital for the contact tracing process to alert people who have been a close contact.

Later flow antigen test kits. (JPI Media)

People who are at high risk from Covid because of underlying conditions are advised that reporting lateral flow tests online will alert their clinical team of the positive result.

Associate Deputy Chief Medical Officer Dr Joanne McClean said: “If a person gets a positive lateral flow result they should assume they have COVID-19. While removing the need for a confirmatory PCR test will help free up PCR capacity, it ensures that PCR tests are focused where they will give most public health and clinical benefit given the current high levels of disease.

“This includes maintaining PCR testing for those who are clinically vulnerable, allowing new COVID-19 treatments to be deployed in the event of a positive test.

“I would really underline the importance of people reporting the results from their lateral flow tests. This allows contact tracing to be initiated and also helps us to monitor the progression of the pandemic.”

Lateral flow results should be reported online at https://www.gov.uk/report-covid19-resultIf you have a positive COVID-19 test, the earliest you can end your period of self-isolation is on day seven - providing your lateral flow tests on day six and seven are both negative and you do not have a high temperature. Your day six and day seven lateral flow tests should be at least 24 hours apart. If either is positive, you should continue to isolate until you get two negative lateral flow tests taken 24 hours apart, or after you have completed 10 full days of isolation – whichever is earlier.