Getting tested for coronavirus

The Government has announced that coronavirus testing in England* has been extended to:

  • Anyone over 65 with symptoms of coronavirus.
  • Anyone who goes into work because they cannot work from home and is showing symptoms. This would include construction workers, tradespeople and installers, factory and distribution workers and delivery drivers.
  • Anyone who lives with these people and is also showing symptoms.

The test tells you whether you have the virus now, not whether you have had it in the past.

In order to get a meaningful result, you should be in the first three days of the onset of your coronavirus symptoms at the time the test is taken - although testing is considered effective up until day five. The test involves taking a swab of the nose and the back of the throat, which you can do yourself in some cases but is most likely to be done by someone else, for example at a hospital, drive-through regional testing site or a mobile testing facility. Reports suggests that getting test results can take several days.

You can apply for a test directly if you are in one of the groups above. Go to https://self-referral.test-for-coronavirus.service.gov.uk to apply for a test.

Watch this video about the regional testing sites

* There are separate rules for Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. Check out the Government's information page here.

Watch out for scams offering home testing kits for sale. There are no CE-marked tests available in the UK for home use. It’s illegal to supply home tests in the UK because none have so far received a CE mark.