It’s clear from the recent increase in COVID-19 cases across the country that the pandemic is not over and that we need to continue cooperating to slow the spread of the virus, protect others, and reduce the pressure on the NHS. It is vital to conduct routine testing using outlets such as ExpressTest and to isolate yourself when necessary to reduce the spread of COVID-19.
We need to review all available data to make policy changes at the right time as evidence of the pandemic progresses. Since the number of infections is the highest since the pandemic started, and there is a high demand for tests, the use of LFD and PCR screening tests in the most critical areas is paramount to limiting the spread of COVID-19 and protecting the most vulnerable.
PCR Tests are Still Essential
We are encouraging people to get a PCR test if they need one. COVID-19 symptoms include a high temperature, new, continuous cough, or changes in your sense of taste or smell. If you develop these symptoms, you should still get a PCR test rather than a rapid lateral flow test.
You do not need to repeat your lateral flow test if you receive a positive result but do not experience symptoms before being isolated, then develop symptoms while you are isolated. You are likely to have the virus if you return positive on the lateral flow test. Nevertheless, you should seek medical attention if your symptoms worsen or are concerned.
Boosting Testing Capacity and other types of Testing is Crucial
The Government continues to expand its testing capacity, and interested parties should check GOV.UK regularly for access to either a rapid lateral flow or a PCR test.
Over 1.7 billion LFDs have been distributed since the pandemic, and the UK’s delivery capacity is 7 million LFDs per day. The UK’s testing program is the largest in Europe.
Since mid-December, an additional 100,000 booking slots for PCR have been made available daily and capacity expansion. Nevertheless, LFD and PCR tests must continue to be used where they reduce the spread of COVID-19 and protect the most vulnerable.
Continuing Follow-Up PCR Testing
If a rapid lateral flow test results in a positive result, a PCR test should be performed only if:
- People want to claim the available Test and Trace Support payment available.
- Someone has previous health conditions that allow them to take part in new coronavirus treatments. In addition to the relevant information on this, the NHS has already sent PCR kits that healthcare professionals can use if they notice COVID-19 symptoms.
- A person who has a positive rapid lateral flow test result should only undergo it if the program asks them to do so.
- A person has a positive lateral flow test within two days of entering England.
The Timing is Right to Implement Change, but Testing is Still Encouraged
People who do not exhibit COVID-19 symptoms can be tested for infection with rapid lateral flow tests. A positive lateral flow test before 11 January was followed with a PCR to confirm the result; now, there is a good reason for temporarily suspending this follow-up test.
There are fewer than three false positives in 10,000 lateral flow tests, typically 99.97% specific. The prevalence of COVID-19 is very high, making it very likely that you have COVID-19 if you test positive for rapid lateral flow.
You should self-isolate immediately, whether the test results reveal a positive or negative result if you test positive using rapid lateral flow testing. We can determine the number of cases of COVID-19 throughout the country by reporting your test results and ensuring that those who test positive receive the correct health advice.
Self-Isolation and Testing are Vital, but Remembering the Basics is Essential to Slow any Spread
There are a few measures you can take against COVID-19 to protect yourself and others:
- Book your COVID-19 booster when you are eligible after you have received your first and second doses.
- If you are required to wear one, and in crowded or enclosed areas, wear a well-fitting face mask.
- Whenever possible, let fresh air in if you are socializing indoors. Outdoor gatherings are safer.
- Hands should be washed regularly.