COVID-19: Daily lateral flow testing for double-jabbed contacts of coronavirus cases to start on Tuesday | UK News

Daily testing for anyone double-jabbed who comes into contact with a COVID-19 case will start from Tuesday.

Those fully vaccinated should take a daily lateral flow test for seven days to slow the spread of the virus, the government has said.

Unvaccinated adults must continue to self-isolate for 10 days if they are a contact of someone with COVID, and anyone who tests positive or develops symptoms will need to self-isolate.

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People will be contacted by NHS Test and Trace or via the NHS COVID-19 app to tell them they are a contact of someone who tested positive and what action they need to take.

The move comes following a significant rise in Omicron infections in the UK with the variant expected to become the dominant strain in the UK by mid-December.

Health Secretary Sajid Javid said: “We are taking this proportionate and more practical measure to limit the impact on people’s day to day lives while helping to reduce the spread of Omicron.

“Vaccines remain our best defence and I urge anyone yet to get a first and second jab to come forward and those eligible for a booster to get boosted as soon as possible.”

People carry out asymptomatic testing using lateral flow antigen
Those fully vaccinated should take a daily lateral flow test for seven days

The Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) added the daily testing is aiming to replace the requirement for Omicron contacts to isolate for 10 days.

The plans also aims to protect the public by identifying asymptomatic cases and stopping the chains of transmission.

The DHSC said testing daily with lateral flow tests will then help with understanding how and where the virus is spreading.

The department went on to added that close contacts of people who test positive are at higher risk of getting COVID and daily testing will therefore help ensure people are not passing the virus on to others without realising.

Dr Jenny Harries, chief executive of the UK Health Security Agency, said: “If you are identified as a contact of someone with COVID-19, taking a rapid daily test – and only needing to isolate if it is positive – will help reduce the spread of the virus and minimise its impact on our everyday lives over the coming weeks and months.”

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Sajid Javid says the new plans are to help ‘reduce the spread of Omicron’

“Rapid tests are freely available in pharmacies and online.

“Our latest analysis shows that boosters provide the best protection against the Omicron variant, please go forward when you are called.

“If you haven’t had any vaccine, a first and second dose still gives you protection against becoming seriously unwell. Don’t worry about stepping forwards now – you will be warmly welcomed by our vaccination staff and I would strongly advise you to get vaccinated as soon as possible.”

People who are contacted by NHS Test and Trace or via the NHS COVID-19 app will be advised to get a box of seven lateral flow tests free of charge from NHS Test and Trace either through pharmacies, schools or home delivery by ordering online.

If the rapid test comes back positive, people should self-isolate and take a PCR test to verify the result.

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Scientists insist that though the effect of omicron is uncertain, getting a booster will provide better protection.

If the PCR result then comes back positive, they must self-isolate for 10 days from the day they took the positive rapid test or developed symptoms.

They do not need to continue taking rapid tests during that 10-day isolation period.

If the PCR result comes back negative, people can leave self-isolation but should still take rapid tests for the rest of the seven days.

The DHSC added anyone who is identified as a contact with a negative lateral flow test is “strongly advised” to limit close contact with other people outside their household, especially in crowded or enclosed spaces and with anyone who is more vulnerable.

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