On the introduction of the new measure in England today, health chiefs have said that, while infection rates remain high across the country, the vast majority of people with positive lateral flow results can be confident they have COVID-19.
Before the introduction of the measure today, people without symptoms who tested LFT positive were asked to order a PCR test, and were then told to only begin their isolation period when they get the PCR result, which effectively required them to isolate for longer than seven days.
Awaiting PCR results was said to be a cause of delay to the official start of isolation for hundreds of thousands of people.
Growing delays in getting PCR test results were also widely reported across the UK.
As lateral flow tests should only be taken by people who do not have COVID symptoms, the UKHSA confirmed that people experiencing the three official COVID symptoms – which are a high temperature, a new, continuous cough, and a loss or change to your sense of smell or taste – will still be expected to get a PCR, however.
People who test positive on lateral flow tests will still need to isolate for at least seven days and register their positive results, and those with symptoms should self-isolate even if they have had a recent negative lateral flow test, as rules for symptomatic people have not changed.
Speaking on the introduction of this temporary measure today, Dr Jenny Harries – Chief Executive of the UKHSA – said: “This is a tried and tested approach.
“With COVID cases high, we can confidently say lateral flow tests can be used to indicate COVID-19 without the need for PCR confirmation. If you test positive on an LFD, you should self-isolate immediately and register your result to allow contact tracing to take place [and] it also remains really important that anyone experiencing COVID-19 symptoms self-isolates and takes a PCR test via 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 behaviours to limit transmission of the virus,” Dr Harries continued.
“This is the most effective way of stopping the spread of infection and keeping our friends, families and communities safe.”
The UKHSA said that the this new change is just a “temporary measure” to while COVID rates remain high and will free up capacity in laboratories for PCR tests for those who do have symptoms, and would allow those who are asymptomatic – about 40% of cases – to return to work more quickly.
Under current guidelines, anyone who tests positive for COVID-19 will be able to leave self-isolation seven days after the date of their initial positive test, providing they receive two negative lateral flow test results, taken 24 hours apart, on days six and seven.
Burgerism is opening a fifth location in Denton
Legendary Manc burger joint and takeaway Burgerism is opening another brand new location in Denton as they continue to expand their Greater Manchester empire.
Set to be their fifth brick-and-mortar site, including their existing venues in Salford, Gatley, the delivery-only kitchen in Manchester city centre and the pop-up in Freight Island, the new Tameside venue sees them reach further across the region after first launching back in 2018.
Sharing the news last week, the smash-burger experts have revealed will be bringing their signature patties, wings, fries and homemade dips to Denton‘s Stockport Road.
Popping up in place of the former Pizza Hut delivery store, the latest location is due to open in mid-March this year. Absolute scenes.
Soon to cover customers living in Denton, Hyde, Stalybridge and beyond, people can rock up to the new adjoined car park space to pick up and collect with ease, and lord knows we love a drive-thru.
To tell the truth, they’ve earned so many accolades in the six years since opening that we’ve lost track, having also been named the eighth most-ordered item on Deliveroo in the UK and the single most-ordered burger in Manchester for 2021. They even scored a collab with the one and only Hawksmoor.
They genuinely might be the best burgers in Greater Manchester.
It still remains the most popular item on Deliveroo in Manchester and this newest venue serves as yet more proof that Burgerism is one if not the best in the game and they are set to make their first moves into Liverpool at the popular Blackstock Market too.
The company’s founder, Mark Murphy, commented: “Burgerism brings restaurant quality smashed burgers straight into people’s homes. Our dream is to be the UK’s go-to delivery burger across the UK, like Domino’s is to pizza. And Denton represents the next piece of the puzzle to do that.
“We’re super excited to launch in the North East of Manchester area. Right from day one, we’ve had loads of die-hard Burgerism fans making the pilgrimage around the M60 to Salford and, while we’ve admired their commitment, we felt it was time to bring Burgerism closer to more of our friends and fans.”
We can’t wait for yet another excuse to try the FreeBird and the Wholly Double only in Tameside.
Tram upgrades and track replacements to take place across Greater Manchester this summer
Upgrades to trams and several track replacements are set to take place across Greater Manchester this summer.
It comes after it was announced last week that an extra £21.4 million investment funding is being ploughed into the Metrolink network over the next 12 months in a bid to “improve” it and ensure that services remain as “safe and reliable” as possible for years to come, according to Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM).
The improvement works were approved by the Bee Network committee last Thursday (22 February).
According to TfGM, the work is part of a planned £147 million package to “maintain, upgrade, and improve” the network throughout the region up to 2027.
Immediate priorities for this summer include track replacement in several parts of the city centre, including Piccadilly Gardens and London Road, and on parts of the Altrincham, and Bury Lines too – which transport bosses claim will mean “quicker, smoother, and more reliable” journeys for passengers using these services.
Plans also include a programme of modifications to the trams themselves, and the installing of state-of-the-art safety systems – including sensors in the middle of double trams, and speed warning devices.
Tram upgrades and track replacements are set to take place across Greater Manchester this summer / Credit: TfGM
New electrical substations are being added along parts of the Bury Line too to additional power so that more doubles trams run in future.
Metrolink is also replacing much of the communications network that’s said to be “critical” to the operation of its signalling and control systems, and is also looking into the replacement of overhead lines on some of the older parts of the network too.
Although the long-term benefits of the works to passengers are expected to be significant, TfGM has conceded that the improvement works set to take place this summer will mean some short-term disruption – but says this is planned to “minimise inconvenience to passengers”.
Vital information about service changes and replacement bus services will be available well in advance of the work, it has been confirmed.
Works are part of a planned £147m improvement package for the Metrolink network / Credit: Mangopear Creative (via Unsplash)
“Metrolink is an integral part of the Bee Network,” explained Danny Vaughan, who is TfGM’s Head of Metrolink, as the plans were announced last week, “And it’s really important that we invest in it so that we can continue to provide a safe, reliable, and positive experience for the thousands of people who travel with us every day.
“This is a coordinated package of planned works to maintain, renew, and improve the network and help to keep Greater Manchester moving.
“While we understand any disruption can be frustrating, we’ll be doing everything we can to keep it to a minimum, and we will make sure passengers know what’s happening well in advance, so I’d ask people to please bear with us while the works are carried out, as the benefits will be there to be enjoyed for years to come.”
For full details of all tram improvement works planned for this year, you’ll want to head to TfGM and the Bee Network website here.