With the rise of Omicron cases throughout the UK, many have been taking PCR tests in the comfort of their own homes instead of visiting their nearest testing site.
These at-home tests need to be sent off after completion via Royal Mail’s priority postboxes to ensure fast delivery to the testing laboratory.
There are a few exemptions to this new rule and many will still have to perform a PCR test to confirm their results.
Here is everything you need to know about Priority postboxes and the new PCR testing rules:
What are the new rules?
Covid testing rules are now being eased for those without symptoms in the UK as they will no longer need to confirm a positive lateral flow test with a PCR.
This will be reviewed when coronavirus levels in the population drop below one per cent.
According to the Office of National Statistics, around four per cent of people are currently infected with Covid.
The new guidance, which comes into effect on Tuesday, states that anyone in England who receives a positive lateral flow test will need to report their result on gov.uk and self-isolate immediately but they will not need to do a PCR follow-up test.
Anyone who tests positive will be able to leave self-isolation seven days after their initial positive test result if they have received two negative lateral flow tests, 24 hours apart on days six and seven.
Those who receive test and trace financial support, those taking part in Covid research studies, and those who are eligible for new NHS treatments of Covid will be asked to take a follow-up PCR test.
The new rule change will help improve access to PCR tests for those with symptoms and for transport, healthcare, and key workers who are struggling to get tests due to supply issues.
What is a Royal Mail Priority Postbox?
Many will need to carry out a follow-up PCR test before the rule change next week.
It is likely that you will be asked to post your completed at-home PCR test via one of Royal Mail’s priority postboxes.
The delivery service is collecting testing kits from priority postboxes or from homes as part of the government's Coronavirus testing programme.
These postboxes will have an NHS/Royal Mail sticker to confirm that it is a priority postbox but if you arrive and there is no sticker, you can still use it to post your test.
Royal Mail has asked users to let them know if there is no sticker attached to a priority postbox by calling 0345 266 8038 Monday to Friday 8am – 6pm.
How do the postboxes work?
Priority postboxes aid the testing programme as Royal Mail use them to get Covid test kits back to the NHS as soon as possible.
The designated service helps to reduce the number of boxes that are used to collect the testing kits and means that fewer postboxes will come into contact with Covid, minimising the spread of infection.
How can I find my nearest priority postbox in Portsmouth?
There are many priority postboxes around the city and details of your nearest one are laid out clearly in the booklet the comes with your PCR testing kit.
If you are having trouble finding your nearest priority box, you can find all the information on the Royal Mail app or on their website.
Simply type in your postcode, select 'show my nearest priority postboxes', and then a list will appear of all of the postboxes close by.
If you do not have access to the app or website, you can call 0345 266 8038 from 8am to 6pm, Monday to Friday.