People who produce a positive lateral flow test will no longer need to take a PCR test to confirm their result.
From January 11, asymptomatic people in England who test positive will no longer require a confirmatory PCR.
The move, previously announced last week by the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA), is taking place to free up capacity in laboratories for PCR tests for those who have Covid-19 symptoms.
People who receive a positive result on a lateral flow device (LFD) will be required to self-isolate immediately, without requiring PCR confirmation.
The UKHSA said it is a temporary measure while Covid-19 rates remain high across the UK.
UKHSA chief executive Dr Jenny Harries said: “This is a tried and tested approach. With Covid cases high, we can confidently say lateral flow tests can be used to indicate Covid-19 without the need for PCR confirmation.
“If you test positive on an LFD, you should self-isolate immediately and register your result to allow contact tracing to take place.
“It also remains really important that anyone experiencing Covid-19 symptoms self-isolates and takes a PCR test via gov.uk, or by phoning 119.
“I’m really grateful to the public and all of our critical workers who continue to test regularly and self-isolate when necessary, along with other practical and important behaviours to limit transmission of the virus, as this is the most effective way of stopping the spread of infection and keeping our friends, families and communities safe.”
Exceptions to the new rules include people who want to claim the Test and Trace Support Payment, those who are taking lateral flow tests as part of research and those who have a positive day 2 test result after they arrive in England.