The UK has seen another spike in Covid-19 infections in recent weeks, the latest spike being caused by a subline of the Omicron variant called BA.2.
But the surge appears to be leveling off as the UK Health Agency (UKHSA) recorded 281,269 positive tests in seven days on April 11, along with 1,613 deaths and 16,438 people hospitalized.
The bottom line is currently estimated at around 93.7 per cent of cases in England, with the highest prevalence in the south-east (96.4 per cent) of the country and the lowest in the East Midlands (91.1 per cent). the UKHSA.
Boris Johnson’s government ended all social restrictions in England on February 24th and subsequently halted the provision of free lateral flow tests (LFTs) on April 1st as part of its alignment with a ‘living with Covid’ strategy Worst of the pandemic to be over.
But the recent wave of falls has already created renewed demand for LFTs at pharmacies, which reported a 400 percent increase in sales over the last week of last month.
LFTs are still the simplest means of determining whether or not you have contracted Covid from the comfort of your own home. LFTs typically cost £2.50 each, or £12 for a pack of five, and use a test strip that changes color to indicate whether the saliva sample you provide contains traces of the coronavirus.
Once you have squeezed droplets from your sample onto the plastic reader, a single hard line will appear next to the letter C (for “Control”) in the test window to confirm the test has worked successfully.
A second red line will properly appear next to the letter T (for “test”) if the virus is present in your sample, although this line can sometimes appear very faint.
According to the Government, the reason for this is that LFTs can be less sensitive when a person has lower levels of virus in their system, although the appearance of a line at all means your test is positive, you have contracted Covid and that You should consider yourself contagious.
“Even faint lines indicate the test is positive,” the official advice reads, adding, “Result lines may appear smeared or faint, but they are still valid results and must be reported.”
However, no test is always 100 percent accurate, and it’s possible for the LFTs to return a false positive, typically if the sample you provided was accidentally contaminated or if you wait longer than the 15 to 30 minutes recommended in the instructions to get yours determine result.
If you test positive for Covid you are no longer legally required to self-isolate, although the NHS recommends working from home where possible to avoid spreading the disease to colleagues, friends and family, especially as others may be more vulnerable than you.
Before social restrictions were lifted, the public were advised to leave isolation after five days if they tested negative for two consecutive days, or after 10 days of quarantine if they continued to test positive.
This article was amended on April 22, 2022 to remove a reference to litmus paper. While the test cartridge contains a strip that changes color to indicate a positive test, litmus paper is not used.