Coronavirus (COVID-19): getting tested

Government guidance on coronavirus testing, including who is eligible for a test and how to get tested.

Who can be tested

Anyone with symptoms can get a coronavirus test, whatever their age – Get a coronavirus test

The testing process

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). The different ways you can get tested are covered below.

Test sites

We’re establishing a network of drive-through and walk-through test sites. Watch a video explaining the process for drive-through testing:

Home testing

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.

If you have been delivered a home testing kit or have been given a self-test kit at a regional test site, here is a tutorial video that supports the written instructions in your pack, from Dr Amir Khan:

You can also read:

Mobile testing units

Mobile testing units travel around the UK to increase access to coronavirus testing. They respond to need, travelling to test essential workers at sites including care homes, police stations and prisons. New units are being brought into operation each day.

Satellite centres

NHS capability is being increased by providing test kits directly to ‘satellite’ centres at places like hospitals that have a particularly urgent or significant need.

NHS facilities

Testing within an NHS facility such as a hospital is available for patients and some NHS workers. Across all these testing methods, there is a network of couriers who collect the completed samples and deliver them safely to one of our laboratories. The swab samples are analysed at our labs and the result is communicated back to the individual.

We aim to return test results within 48 hours of a swab being taken, or within 72 hours for a home test.