People who test positive on lateral flows 'may not need follow-up PCR'
There are hopes this will ease shortages of critical workers and the strain on the testing system
The government is reportedly set to announce that people who test positive for Covid using a lateral flow test will no longer need to do a follow-up PCR.
Previously, anyone who tested positive by lateral but had no symptoms was required to do a PCR, with their isolation period only beginning once they got this second result. This effectively meant that people had to isolate for longer than the seven day requirement.
But Sky News reports that the government has drawn up plans to limit PCR tests to those with symptoms.
By scrapping the follow-up PCR for those who are asymptomatic - about 40 percent of cases - it is hoped that they will be able to return to work more quickly, with the move expected to shorten the isolation period for millions of people by a day or two.
It will also help relieve the strain on the test supplies that the country is experiencing.
Whilst not officially confirming the news, Health Minister Gillian Keegan strongly hinted that follow-up PCRs may be ditched, telling BBC Breakfast: "I know the teams are looking at testing and testing regimes.
"We’ve introduced so many lateral flow tests now, and they’re very accurate, they’re really accurate in people who are infectious. So I guess they’re looking at the regimes all the time in terms of what makes sense.
"I don’t have any official news, but the teams will announce it once they have come to their conclusions.
"You may be able to expect some news, I don’t know when."
"Testing regimes are being looked at all the time"
Ministers are finalising plans to change testing requirements in England. Care Minister Gillian Keegan responds as some people who have a positive lateral flow may not need a PCR test. https://t.co/Tec47MTHNr pic.twitter.com/xjfzTBDje1
— BBC Breakfast (@BBCBreakfast) January 5, 2022
The news is expected to be announced on Wednesday.
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