Children who test positive for Covid at home will get follow-up test, No 10 says
Students who appear positive for coronavirus in rapid home tests will receive a subsequent test that could allow them to return to class, No 10 has confirmed after a minister sparked confusion.
The Prime Minister’s official spokesman clarified on Monday that secondary and college students who get positive lateral flow tests taken outside of school will receive a subsequent PCR test.
If they test negative in the follow-up, then they will be able to return to class rather than spend 10 days in isolation, Downing Street said.
Students, however, who test positive in a lateral flow test at school during the early phase will not get a confirmatory PCR test.
The clarification came after children’s minister Vicky Ford suggested there would be no PCR tests at all.
If a PCR test is negative following a positive lateral flow, if the PCR is negative, children can go back to school
The first three tests for secondary and college students will take place under supervision at their places of education, before being taken twice weekly at home.
Boris Johnson’s official spokesman said: “Children who take a lateral flow test at a school environment or a controlled environment, if they receive a positive lateral flow test, they won’t need a PCR test.
“But children who receive a positive lateral flow from a test taken at home, they will require a PCR test.
“If a PCR test is negative following a positive lateral flow, if the PCR is negative, children can go back to school.”
He said that the aim would be to get PCR tests out “as quickly as possible” after the positive lateral flow test and explained that PCR tests are not needed after school tests because they are done “under supervision in a controlled environment”.
Earlier, Ms Ford failed to draw the distinction between home and classroom tests.
“If they test positive then they shouldn’t be in school,” she told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme
“The really important thing here is to make sure we can keep schools open and minimise the risk of having Covid in the classrooms and that is why if people have a test that shows they have got Covid through the lateral flow test we should not take the risk of having that child in the classroom.”
Pressed if there would be no subsequent PCR test, she said: “They should not take the risk, we all want to make sure we can keep Covid out of the classrooms here.”
Professor Sheila Bird, a member of the Royal Statistical Society, has previously warned it will be “very likely” that the lateral flow tests will produce false positives and that all positive results should be double-checked with a more accurate PCR test.