People urged to report Covid home test results after PCR follow-ups halted in England | Coronavirus

People are being urged to register the results of home Covid tests after the announcement that follow-up PCRs will be suspended for asymptomatic people with a positive lateral flow test in England.

The UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) said the shift reflected the high accuracy of the tests and prevalence of coronavirus, which means the chances of false positives are low. However, the new system will rely more heavily on people registering their own positive test result.

A spokesperson said: “From the 11th, we would really encourage people to register results, especially if they’re positive, there is a greater need for that.”

Lateral flow test results already feed into official daily Covid case numbers and, in England, represented almost a third of reported cases on 31 December.

Prof Sir David Spiegelhalter, the chair of the Winton Centre for Risk and Evidence Communication at the University of Cambridge, said: “It will become much more important that people report positive lateral flow tests otherwise nobody will know what’s going on. There’s already a problem with daily cases, with people not getting tested or not reporting results.”

The change will apply only to those in England taking routine lateral flow tests who do not have any symptoms of coronavirus, and they must still report their result on and self-isolate for the minimum seven days. Anyone with any of the three main Covid symptoms, which are a high temperature, persistent cough and a loss or change to sense of smell or taste, must self-isolate, take a PCR test, and await the results.

UKHSA said lateral flow devices (LFDs) were most effective for people without symptoms, with 80% accuracy in finding the people with high viral loads who are most infectious. The agency added that for every 10,000 lateral flow tests carried out, there are likely to be fewer than three false positive results.