According to the new rules, people who test positive for Covid on a lateral flow test and are asymptomatic will no longer need a PCR test confirmation. This new guidance is coming into force next week on 11 January in England. However, Dr Amir explains this might make it harder to identify new variants.
Dr Amir said: “People who test positive on a lateral flow test and have no symptoms don’t have to order a PCR test, their period of isolation starts at that point of the positive lateral flow test.
“The specificity will vary depending on who’s doing it.
“But if they do test positive on lateral flow tests, they are very good at picking up [the virus]. So, that is very accurate.”
“The idea is you don’t have to wait for a PCR test, your period of isolation starts at that point. Hopefully, it will facilitate people getting back to work,” he added.
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In regards to the new rules, the doctor warned that “there are some downsides”.
The two potential cons that come with this Covid testing update are relying on people to self-report their results and difficulty identifying new variants.
“If you test positive on the lateral flow test, you have to report it. So, we rely on people reporting it themselves.
“And people who are self-employed or low-pay jobs, who don’t get sick pay, may choose not to self-isolate because the financial support isn’t there for them.”
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