People without coronavirus symptoms who have a positive lateral flow test in England will no longer need a confirmatory PCR test from next week, the UK Health Security Agency has announced

From January 11, people who test positive after testing themselves with a lateral flow kit will no longer need to follow-up with a PCR test to make sure.

Those who test positive will instead be told to self-isolate for a week – and self-isolation will end if they test negative on days six and seven.

A Whitehall source told The Sun newspaper: “The overwhelming likelihood is that if you have a positive lateral flow, then you are infectious.

“So there is no need for an extra PCR check when testing is already under huge strain.”

Under the changes to the testing regime, first reported by the Daily Telegraph, the PCR capacity in laboratories will be limited to those with Covid-19 symptoms.

Currently those without symptoms who test positive on a lateral flow are asked to order a PCR test and only begin their isolation period when they receive the second result, effectively forcing them to isolate for longer than seven days – particularly if there are delays in obtaining the confirmatory result.