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The UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) said that from January 11, asymptomatic people in England who test positive will no longer require a confirmatory PCR test.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Boris Johnson has led a Cabinet meeting where he recommended sticking with England’s Plan B despite record case numbers and rising pressure on hospitals.
The move announced by the UKHSA will free up capacity in laboratories for PCR tests for those who have Covid-19 symptoms.
People who receive a positive result on a lateral flow device (LFD) will be required to self-isolate immediately, without requiring PCR confirmation.
The UKHSA said it is a temporary measure while Covid-19 rates remain high across the UK.
Officials said that while levels of Covid-19 are high, the “vast majority” of people with positive LFD results can be confident they have the virus.
People who have Covid-19 symptoms should still get a PCR test, the UKHSA said.
“While cases of Covid 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.
“It remains really important that anyone who experiences Covid-19 symptoms self-isolates immediately. They should also order a PCR test on gov.uk, or by phoning 119.
“I’m really grateful to the public and all of our critical workers who continue to test regularly and self-isolate when necessary, along with other practical and important public health behaviours, as this is the most effective way of stopping the spread of the virus and keeping our friends, families and communities safe.”
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