COVID-19:Getting a test
If you have symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19), you can ask for a test to check if you have the virus. This is called an antigen test.
There is another type of test (antibody test) that checks if you've already had the virus. This test is not available yet.
Who can be tested?
You can ask for a test:
- for yourself, if you have coronavirus symptoms now (a high temperature, a new, continuous cough, or a loss or change to your sense of smell or taste)
- for someone you live with, if they have coronavirus symptoms
The tests are not suitable for children under 5 years old.
If you're asking for a test for someone else and the person is aged 13 or over, check they're happy for you to ask for a test for them.
When should I be tested?
You need to have the test in the first 5 days of having symptoms.
It's best to ask for the test in the first 3 days, as it may take a day or two to arrange.
How do I ask for a test?
You can ask for a test online.
We'll ask you:
- how you want to get the test – you may be able to choose between driving to a regional testing site or getting a home test kit
- for details such as your name, mobile phone number and address
IF YOU ARE:
- an essential worker, including NHS or social care staff
- applying for tests for the residents and staff of your care home
- have a verification code from your employer
Home test kits can be delivered to someone’s door so they can test themselves and their family without leaving the house. Home test kit availability will be initially limited, but more will become available.
The test involves taking a swab of the nose and the back of the throat, which can be done by the person themselves (self-administered) or by someone else (assisted).