Premier League drops twice-weekly PCR testing for players and staff

PCR tests will only be taken to confirm a positive lateral flow result

The Premier League is dropping twice-weekly PCR testing for Covid-19 on all players and staff.

From Thursday clubs will continue to conduct daily lateral flow tests (LFTs) on training days but PCR tests will only be taken to confirm a positive lateral flow result.

The move away from routine PCR testing is understood to have been made completely independently of the change in the government’s approach to testing and isolation.

The UK Health and Security Agency (UKHSA) announced on Wednesday that from 11 January an asymptomatic individual who tested positive for Covid-19 on an LFT would no longer need to take a PCR test to confirm the result, and that their period of isolation would begin on the date of the positive LFT.

The league will adopt the new rules on isolation for asymptomatic individuals when they come into force, rather than starting the isolation period when the result of the follow-up PCR is known.

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On 14 December, the Premier League introduced the requirement for daily lateral flow testing and twice-weekly PCR tests to combat the threat posed by the highly-transmissible Omicron variant.

Prior to that, clubs had been conducting twice-weekly lateral flow tests and only using PCRs to confirm positive cases.

The league announced on Monday that 14,250 Covid-19 tests were administered on players and club staff between 27 December and 2 January, out of which 94 (0.65 per cent) were positive.

This was the first decrease in eight weeks, with 103 positives recorded the previous week.

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