Covid-19 Update

Dylan Loughlin

Omicron Variant

The Omicron Covid-19 variant is now the dominant variant throughout the UK and accounts for about 90% of positive cases in Northern Ireland.

The three main symptoms of Covid-19 were originally:

  • New and continuous cough
  • Fever
  • Loss of taste and smell

However, the omicron variant’s symptoms seem to be milder among many people and are often compared to a common cold.

The 8 main symptoms of Omicron to look out for are:

  • Scratchy throat
  • Lower back pain
  • Runny nose/congestion
  • Headache
  • Fatigue
  • Sneezing
  • Night sweats
  • Body aches

Since these symptoms are similar to those of the common cold or flu, if you display any it is recommended you take a lateral flow test to determine if you have contracted the virus or not.

Changes to Covid-19 Testing

Throughout the UK there have been recent changes surrounding testing as a PCR test is no longer required after testing positive on a lateral flow. This is a temporary measure in response to the high levels of COVID-19 and will allow PCR tests to be reserved for where they will provide the greatest benefit and for those who are clinically vulnerable.

Northern Ireland

From 5th January 2022, persons who test positive on a lateral flow test will no longer need a PCR test to confirm the result but should assume they have COVID-19 and self-isolate immediately for the required period.

Scotland and Wales

From 6th January 2022, anyone who has a positive lateral flow test but does not have symptoms, will no longer need a PCR test to confirm they have Covid.


From 11th January 2022, people in England who do not have symptoms but test positive on lateral flows will no longer need a PCR test to begin their isolation period.

What should I do if I test positive on a lateral flow?

The Department of Health states the importance of recording your positive result online as this will trigger contact tracing and alert those who have been in close contact.

Details of how to report your lateral flow result can be found at the link below:

Report a COVID-19 lateral flow test result online

If you are unable to use the online service, call 119 (free from mobiles and landlines) to report the result of your lateral flow test.

Changes to Self-isolation Period

The self-isolation period after testing positive for Coid-19 has temporarily been reduced. This decision has been made due to large staff shortages throughout the UK and aims to help businesses with their workforce planning.

England, Wales and Northern Ireland

Anyone who has tested positive for Covid-19 is able to end their quarantine period after 7 days instead of 10 so long as they provide a negative lateral flow result on both day 6 and day 7.


New positive cases can end their isolation period after 7 days if they do not have a fever and provide a negative lateral flow test on day six and again at least 24 hours later.

For more information on changes to self-isolation rules visit:

Self-isolation for COVID-19 cases reduced from 10 to 7 days following negative LFD tests