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Asymptomatic people are now exempt from PCR testing in the UK

In England, mandatory polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests for asymptomatic infections will be scrapped from January 11, so millions of coronavirus patients will not have to take two tests in a row.

Currently, anyone who tests positive with a side strip test (LFD) must have a post-PCR test to confirm the result. However, from January 11, people who are asymptomatic will no longer need a post-PCR test, the UK’s Health Safety Agency has decided.

People who are asymptomatic make up about 40 percent of those infected with the virus. They still need to isolate themselves for 7 days, but only from the time of testing, thus shortening the time of isolation.

The change announced today is only temporary and PCR tests will be re-run when the most severe phase of the omicron wave passes. It is reintroduced when prevalence drops to about 1 percent or less than 1 percent. It is currently believed that this rate is 4 percent or higher, he writes Mirror.

Officials believe this will be a positive change because there will be no need to wait for the PCR result after that and the testing process may become faster. The reason for the change is, in part, that with such a high rate of Covid disease levels, “false-positive” hepatitis C results are less likely.

“While the number of coronavirus cases continues to rise, this tried and tested approach means that LFDs can be used with confidence to indicate COVID-19 infection without the need for PCR confirmation.”

Dr Jenny Harris, chief executive of UKHSA, said: