From Tuesday 11th January, people without symptoms who test positive for Covid with a lateral flow test will no longer need to take a PCR test. Due to the prevalence of the Omicron variant, the government have decided that a positive lateral flow test is sufficient to confirm the presence of Covid and to require people to self-isolate.
The positive lateral flow test has to be reported to the NHS via the government website. This will provide some reassurance to employers as they will be able to ask for evidence that the positive test has been registered. We would recommend that employers also ask for a photo of the corresponding lateral flow test.
Anyone who is experiencing symptoms of Covid is still required to take a PCR test.
Here’s a reminder of the current self-isolation rules:
- Those who test positive for Covid must self-isolate for 10 days.
- However, they can take lateral flow tests on day 6 and 7 of self -isolation and, if these are negative and they do not have a temperature, they can end self-isolation.
- If the lateral flow tests on day 6 and/or 7 are positive, they must continue to self-isolate for the full 10 days.
- Someone who is a close contact of someone with Covid no longer needs to self-isolate if they have been double vaccinated (or are exempt). Instead they can take daily lateral flow tests for 7 days and, as long as they are negative, they can continue as normal.
- Anyone who has not been vaccinated will have to self-isolate for the full 10 days if they are in close contact with someone who tests positive.
The above information applies to England, different rules may apply in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.