Change to testing rules

12 January 2022

The government has made some changes to the COVID-19 testing requirements in England recently in response to the growing rise of Omicron across the country. As you know, there are different tests you can get to check if you have coronavirus (COVID-19).

  • PCR tests - mainly for people with symptoms. They're sent to a lab to be checked
  • Rapid lateral flow device (LFD) tests - only for people who do not have symptoms. They give a quick result

This week, most people in England without COVID-19 symptoms who receive a positive lateral flow device (LFD) test result are required to self-isolate immediately, without having to take a confirmatory PCR test. There are exceptions to this. You will need to have a PCR test if:

  • You also have COVID-19 symptoms
  • You wish to claim the £500 Test and Trace Support Payment
  • You have received an email or letter from the NHS because of a health condition that means you may be suitable for new COVID-19 treatments - if this applies to you and you develop any COVID-19 symptoms, you should use the PCR test kit that was sent to you in the post for this purpose; if you have not received a PCR test kit you can arrange to have a PCR test
  • You are taking LFD tests as part of research or surveillance programmes, and the programme asks you to take a follow-up PCR test

Anyone testing positive with a LFD are being asked to report their results on the government website and self-isolate immediately.

More information about COVID-19

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Up to: January 2022

Updated: 26 January 2022

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