The UK has been battling the worst wave of coronavirus infections that has ever been recorded since the beginning of the pandemic. With the rising number of cases, they’ve also been witnessing an unprecedented demand in PCR tests. To combat the rising demand, the government has put in place a new measure for all those who are testing positive with a lateral flow device.
Suspending PCR tests
They have temporarily suspended the need for these specific people to get a follow-up PCR test following their positive LFT result. The UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) announced on GOV.UK:
From 11 January in England, people who receive positive lateral flow device (LFD) test results for coronavirus (COVID-19) will be required to self-isolate immediately and won’t be required to take a confirmatory PCR test.
This is a temporary measure while COVID-19 rates remain high across the UK.
They added that given the high rate of infection that the UK is currently witnessing, those who are tested positive for COVID using an LFT can be certain that it is not a false result. Dr. Jenny Harries, Chief Executive of UKHSA said:
While cases of COVID-19 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.
When should you take a PCR test?
On the other hand, they’re encouraging anyone who has been exhibiting at least one of the three main COVID symptoms to get PCR tested—even if they have had a negative result in the lateral flow test. They added:
Lateral flow tests are taken by people who do not have COVID-19 symptoms. Anyone who develops 1 of the 3 main COVID-19 symptoms should stay at home and self-isolate and take a PCR test.
According to the i, the NHS has listed the three main symptoms as a high-grade fever, a new and continuous cough, and a loss or change of smell or taste.