England- Suspension of Follow-up PCRs after positive Lateral Flow Tests

Change will apply just to those taking routine lateral flow tests who don’t have any Covid indications.

Follow-up PCRs tests to be suspended temporarily for people showing no symptoms of Covid, who had positive lateral flow tests from January 11.

The UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) said the shift mirrored the high exactness of the tests and prevalence of Covid, which implies the odds of incorrect positives are extremely low.

The change will apply just to those in England, taking routine lateral flow tests who don’t have any side effects of Covid, and they should in any case report their results on gov.uk and isolate themselves for about seven days. Anybody with any of the three principle Covid side effects, which are a high temperature, persistent cough and loss or change in the sense of smell or taste, must practice complete isolation, take a PCR test and wait for results.

UKHSA said lateral flow devices (LFDs) were best for individuals without symptoms, with 80% precision in observing individuals with high viral loads that are infectious. In addition to that, the agency said that for each 10,000 lateral flow tests done, there were probably going to be less than three false positive outcomes.

The organisation added that this methodology replicated the one taken from January to March the previous year, when PCR tests that were confirmatory, were suspended as well.

Jenny Harries, the CEO of UKHSA’s, 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.

There are few exemptions for the change, including individuals eligible for the £500 test and follow support instalment, individuals taking part in examination and observation programs, and the 1 million individuals in danger of turning out to be genuinely sick from Covid who have been reached by the NHS.

The care minister, Gillian Keegan, told the Today program that the change was expected to mirror the “precision and amount of lateral flow tests” rather than explicitly to control staff insufficiency. She said there were “no quick plans” to diminish the least confinement time frame down to five assuming a negative lateral flow is acquired, yet added that it was “a sensible question to ask” and one that was being considered by the scientists.