​From today (11 January) in England, people, with no symptoms, who receive positive lateral flow device (LFD) test results for coronavirus (COVID-19) will be required to self-isolate immediately and will not need to take a confirmatory PCR test.

However, the rules have not changed for anyone with COVID-19 symptoms, who should still self isolate and take a PCR test.

This temporary measure is in place while COVID-19 rates remain high across the UK.

Lateral flow tests are taken by people who do not have COVID-19 symptoms. To limit the spread of the virus, Halton residents are still being encouraged to take a lateral flow test twice weekly and before visiting vulnerable people or attending events and gatherings.

Anyone, without symptoms, who receives a positive LFD 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.

After reporting a positive LFD test result, they will be contacted by NHS Test and Trace so that their contacts can be traced and must continue to self-isolate.

An important exception to this revised approach, applies to people who are eligible for the £500 Test and Trace Support Payment. To access this financial support people who are eligible, will still be asked to take a confirmatory PCR after they receive a positive lateral flow result.

There may also be people who are advised to take a PCR test because they are in a clinically vulnerable group who may need early access to treatment.

Commenting on the temporary changes, Halton’s Director of Public Health, Dr Ifeoma Onyia said: “Like the rest of England, infection rates in Halton are currently extremely high, driven by the Omicron variant.

“So, if you get a positive result from a lateral flow test, you should be confident that this is correct.”

“Anyone with a positive result should self-isolate straight away and importantly upload your result to gov.uk. Doing this will help us in our response to the current local situation.    

“We know at the moment there is a really high demand for lateral flow tests right across England which is making it difficult for some people to get hold of kits and do regular tests.

“I understand this is frustrating, but I would urge everyone to persevere and keep trying the various routes available.

“Test kits can still be ordered online at GOV.uk although they may take longer than usual to arrive.

“Local pharmacies are also receiving test kits, but due to high demand these are going very quickly. The pharmacy collect QR code is not a guarantee of an order, so please be patient with pharmacy staff if they have run out.

“As a Council, we are also continuing to do all we can to distribute tests within the community. Throughout December we gave out 60,000 home test kits and our staff will be giving more out at local supermarkets again this weekend. Over the last few weeks, more than 25,000 tests have been sent to local workplaces and we continue our support to vulnerable and higher risk settings.

“My message to everyone in Halton, is to do your best to keep up with regular testing as we go through this particularly challenging period.

“And for anyone that has symptoms, please book a PCR test straight away. We have a number of local sites where you can get tested and I’m pleased to say that there are currently no capacity issues at these sites.”

For the latest information on local testing arrangements visit www.halton.gov.uk/covidtesting

For the latest guidance visit www.gov.uk