The move, which comes into force from next Tuesday (January 11), is a temporary measure that will remain in place while Covid cases across the country are high, according to the UK Health Security Agency.
Anybody who tests positive with a lateral flow will have to isolate immediately and will not be required to do the second PCR to confirm.
Infection rates in the UK are so high, they say, that the chance of an incorrect test is very low, the UKHSA have said.
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UKHSA Chief Executive Dr Jenny Harries said: “While cases of COVID continue to rise, this tried-and-tested approach means that LFDs can be used confidently to indicate COVID-19 infection without the need for PCR confirmation.
“It remains really important that anyone who experiences COVID-19 symptoms self-isolates immediately. They should also order a PCR test on 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 public health behaviours, as this is the most effective way of stopping the spread of the virus and keeping our friends, families and communities safe.”