PCR tests tracker: Where you can get a PCR Covid test right now

PCR tests tracker: Where you can get a PCR Covid test right now

Huw Merriman MP says it's time to scrap PCR testing

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The Omicron coronavirus variant is spreading rapidly throughout the UK, and with just days to go until Christmas, Brits are scrambling for tests so they can spend time with family and friends. Since the Government introduced Plan B measures, those trying to book walk-in PCR tests have encountered problems, with some being directed to sites far away from their homes or being told no slots were available.

You should order a PCR test if you fall into any of the following categories:

• you’ve been in contact with someone who’s tested positive and you must self-isolate

• you’ve been asked to get a test by a local council or someone from NHS Test and Trace

• a GP or other health professional has asked you to get a test

READ MORE: Booster jab side effects: Is the booster worse than the first two jabs

• you’re taking part in a government pilot project

• you’ve been asked to get a test to confirm a positive result

• you’ve received an unclear result and were told to get a second test

• you need to get a test for someone you live with who has symptoms

• you’re in the National Tactical Response Group

Where can I get a PCR test now?

PCR tests are currently available in all areas of the UK, apart from Hartlepool, according to GOV.UK.

The amount of PCR tests available in each region can change from day-to-day, and you can check your area daily.

Alternatively, you can order a PCR test to be delivered to your home – in most cases it will arrive the day after you placed the order.

Express.co.uk will update this page daily on the run up to Christmas Day.

You can also order lateral flow tests on GOV.UK, or you can pick them up from your local pharmacy.

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Are PCR’s more accurate than lateral flow tests?

Yes – LFT’s aren’t as good as PCR tests at detecting COVID-19.

This is because PCR tests involve a step where the genetic material is multiplied repeatedly, so they can detect very small amounts of the virus.

LFT’s do not have this, so may miss infections where virus levels are low.

How accurate are LFT’s?

According to the NHS, one in three people with Covid do not show any symptoms but can still infect others, which is why taking a lateral flow test regularly is so important.

According to a meta-analysis of studies by medical database the Cochrane Library, lateral flow tests detect an average of 72 percent of symptomatic cases and 58 percent of asymptomatic ones.

This means LFT’s can commonly bring up false negatives – so if you have any symptoms of coronavirus, you should book a PCR even if your LFT is negative.

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