Change to PCR and LFD Tests Use

What has been announced?

From Tuesday 11th January, in England, people without symptoms who then have a positive LFD test result will no longer have to take a PCR test to confirm their status.

Instead, anyone who has a positive LFD test result must report their result online or by calling 119, and self-isolate (this will support accurate national statistics).  They will be contacted by Test and Trace in England so their close contacts can be notified, as happens now after a positive PCR.

People will be able to leave self-isolation seven days after the date of their initial positive test, providing they receive two negative LFT results, 24 hours apart, on days six and seven (or two consecutive tests afterwards e.g. day 7 and 8 or day 8 and 9), as previously announced.


What happens if my child, or someone in my house, has symptoms?

Anyone with Covid symptoms – a cough, a fever or a loss of taste or smell – must still take a PCR test (Book here), as soon as possible, and should stay at home and self-isolate while they wait for the result.  A negative LFD test will not be accepted.

The isolation period still starts from the onset of symptoms.

If a child shows symptoms in school, staff will continue to contact parents/carers and isolate the child until they can be collected to be taken for a PCR test.

Anyone who has had a PCR test must continue to self-isolate if this is positive, even if they have previously had negative LFD tests.


Why has this change been implemented?

The new testing guidance will remain in place while Covid case levels remain high, because the vast majority of people with positive LFD test results at the moment are extremely likely to have coronavirus.


Additional Information

People who are eligible for the £500 test and trace payment in England will still be asked to take a confirmatory PCR if they receive a positive LFT result, to enable them to access financial support.

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