Changes to COVID-19 testing

lateral flow test

From Monday 11 January, in England, people who receive positive lateral flow test results for COVID-19 will be required to self-isolate immediately and won’t be required to take a confirmatory PCR test.

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 lateral flow test results can be confident that they have COVID-19.

Anyone who develops one of the 3 main COVID-19 symptoms should stay at home and self-isolate and book a PCR test. They must self-isolate if they get a positive test result, even if they have had a recent negative lateral flow test - these rules have not changed.

Under this new approach, anyone who receives a positive lateral flow 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.

There are a few exceptions to this revised approach:

  • people who are eligible for the £500 Test and Trace Support Payment (TTSP) will still be asked to take a confirmatory PCR if they receive a positive lateral flow test result, to enable them to access financial support
  • people participating in research or surveillance programmes may still be asked to take a follow-up PCR test, according to the research or surveillance protocol

In line with the reduced self-isolation approach announced on 22 December, anyone who tests positive will be able to leave self-isolation 7 days after the date of their initial positive test if they receive 2 negative lateral flow test results, 24 hours apart, from days 6 and 7.

Lateral flow tests home test kits are available at One Lexicon and our community collect sites, as well as through local pharmacies and to order on GOV.UK.

Please do not attend these sites if you have COVID-19 symptoms or have tested positive on a lateral flow test.

If you have been in close contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19 and you are fully vaccinated, you can do daily lateral flow tests for 7 days and only need to isolate if you have a positive lateral flow test. If you are unvaccinated, you must isolate for 10 days.