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Get a free NHS test today to check if you have coronavirus

You can have a test (swab test) to check if you have coronavirus (COVID-19) now. You can choose to take the test:

  • at a test site near you today and get your result tomorrow
  • with a home test kit

There is another test, the antibody test to check if you've had coronavirus. This is not widely available yet.

Who can get a test

You can get 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 symptoms
  • if you live in England and have been told to have a test before you go into hospital, for example, for surgery
  • if you live, work or study in an area with a coronavirus outbreak (Leicester, Luton, Pendle, or Blackburn with Darwen local councils)

This service is for people in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

When to get a test

If you have coronavirus symptoms, apply as soon as you can.

Do not wait

You need to get the test done in the first 5 days of having symptoms.

Book a visit to a test site to have the test today. Or order a home test kit if you cannot get to a test site.

On days 1 to 4 of your symptoms, you can get tested at a site or at home. If you're ordering a home test kit on day 4, do it by 3pm.

On day 5, you need to go to a test site. It's too late to order a home test kit.

Get a test now

Apply online on GOV.UK. Or call 119 if you have problems using the internet.

Start now on the GOV.UK website

Stay at home if you have symptoms

If you are getting a test because you have symptoms, you and anyone you live with must stay at home (self-isolate) until you get your result.

Anyone in your support bubble must also self-isolate until you get your result.

What is a support bubble?

A support bubble is where someone who lives alone (or just with their children) can meet people from 1 other household.

Find out more about meeting people from outside your household on GOV.UK.

What the test involves

The test involves taking a swab of the inside of your nose and the back of your throat, using a long cotton bud.

You can do the swab yourself (if you are aged 12 or over) or someone can do it for you. Parents or guardians have to swab test children aged 11 or under.

Getting a test for someone else

If other people you live with have symptoms, you can order tests for up to 3 of them.

If you're applying for a test for someone else, and the person is aged 13 or over, check they're happy for you to get a test for them.

Urgent advice: If you need medical advice about your symptoms, go to:

Call 999 if you feel very unwell or think there's something seriously wrong.

Information:

Need help with getting a test?

Call 119 in England, Wales and Northern Ireland or 0300 303 2713 in Scotland, from 7am till 11pm.

If you're having problems getting a test, see answers to common questions about asking for a coronavirus test.

Privacy information

Testing for coronavirus: privacy information on GOV.UK

Page last reviewed: 31 July 2020
Next review due: 7 August 2020