Government rule change means many won’t need to take a PCR test from tomorrow

With the ongoing battle to keep a lid on Covid cases rises, the government is set to introduce new measures as of Tuesday, January 11, 2022.

Of late, the mammoth task of working out exactly how many people have the virus hasn't been easy due to a lack of lateral flow tests (LFTs) and PCR tests.

The Omicron variant currently has the UK in its grip, with 142,224 people testing positive for the virus on Monday, January 10, and has smashed previous daily case records time and time again.

Meanwhile, on Saturday, January 8, the UK reached the unwanted milestone of 150,000 total deaths from the pandemic – only the seventh country in the world to do so and the first in Europe.

What is Boris Johnson and his government's "living with Covid" plan in the UK?

Despite the high coronavirus case and death count, Boris Johnson and his government are in the process of creating a new "Living with Covid" plan to help return Brits to something resembling normal life.

The scheme is likely to include moves to end free LFTs, remove social distancing in most scenarios, allow for fewer PCR tests and fewer tests for people entering the UK, the Mirror reports.

Although this plan isn't likely to come into effect for some time, an announcement is expected in the coming weeks.

However, a new change is expected to come tomorrow and it is related to PCR tests.

What is the PCR test rule change?

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At the time of writing, people who test positive on an LFT but don't have any symptoms are expected to still get a PCR test to confirm they have the virus. But this is all set to change on January 11, 2022.

However, the new coronavirus rules will also mean that people only need to isolate for seven days from the day they got their positive LFT result.

Imperial College London's Professor Azeem Majeed said to newspaper, i, that the move was positive.

"If you’re positive on lateral flow tests (LFTs) that’s almost certainly diagnostic of a Covid-19 infection in the current situation we’re in, as infection rates are so high," he said.

Adding: "By not then having to take a PCR test, it takes pressure off the PCR testing system."

What should I do if I have a positive LFT result?

If you test positive on an LFT you must report your test result and begin to isolate immediately.

The UK Health Security Agency, or UKHSA, give guidance on how to cope with this, saying: "Under this new approach, anyone who receives a positive LFD test result should report their result on Gov.UK and must self-isolate immediately but will not need to take a follow-up PCR test."

People who have to isolate, after having done a positive test, can currently leave isolation after seven days, three days earlier than the standard 10. This is, however, dependent on taking tests each day and returning positive results on days six and seven.

If your test is positive on these days you must continue to isolate until you return negative tests for two days in a row.

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The new measure has currently been brought in under a temporary banner due to high cases and to prevent workforces from being heavily affected by people being unable to work due to isolation.

The UKHSA said: "This is a temporary measure while Covid-19 rates remain high across the UK. Whilst levels of Covid-19 are high, the vast majority of people with positive [LFT] results can be confident that they have Covid-19."

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