5. Confirmatory PCR tests to be temporarily suspended for positive lateral flow test results
From Tuesday, 11 January, in England, people who receive positive lateral flow results for COVID-19 will be required to self-isolate immediately and won’t be required to take a PCR test.
This is a temporary measure – whilst levels of COVID-19 are high, the vast majority of people with positive LFD results can be confident that they have COVID-19.
Lateral flow tests are taken by people who do not have COVID-19 symptoms.
Anyone who develops one of the three main COVID-19 symptoms should stay at home, self-isolate and take a PCR test. They must self-isolate if they get a positive test result, even if they have had a recent negative lateral flow test – these rules have not changed.
Under this new approach, anyone who receives a positive lateral flow device (LFD) test result should report their result on gov.uk and self-isolate immediately but will not need to take a follow-up PCR test.
After reporting a positive LFD test result, they will be contacted by NHS Test and Trace so that their contacts can be traced and must continue to self-isolate.
If you have a particularly bad cold and worry the symptoms suggest it’s COVID, you need to test using a PCR test.
Book your PCR test here: https://www.gov.uk/get-coronavirus-test
Or call 119, if you have one or more of the following coronavirus symptoms
- a high temperature
- a new, continuous cough
- a loss or change to sense of smell or taste
Please do not attend a site for a lateral flow test if you have symptoms or if you’re self-isolating.