This information is about the swab test to check if you have coronavirus (COVID-19).
Getting your test result
You'll get a text or email when your result is ready.
Most people get their test results the day after taking the test. Some results might take longer, but you should get them in 72 hours.
There are 3 types of result you can get:
- unclear, void, borderline or inconclusive
If you do not get your result, call the coronavirus testing contact centre on 119 (England, Wales and Northern Ireland) or 0300 303 2713 (Scotland). The contact centre is open from 7am to 11pm.
Stay at home
If you had a test because you had 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.
Negative test result
A negative result means the test did not find coronavirus.
You do not need to self-isolate if your test is negative, as long as:
- everyone you live with who has symptoms tests negative
- everyone in your support bubble who has symptoms tests negative
- you were not told to self-isolate for 14 days by NHS Test and Trace – if you were, see what to do if you've been told you've been in contact with someone who has coronavirus
- you feel well – if you feel unwell, stay at home until you’re feeling better
If you have diarrhoea or you’re being sick, stay at home until 48 hours after they've stopped.
If you're a health or care worker, check with your employer before going back to work.
Positive test result
A positive result means you had coronavirus when the test was done.
If your test is positive, you must self-isolate.
- If you had a test because you had symptoms, keep self-isolating for at least 10 days from when your symptoms started.
- If you had a test but have not had symptoms, self-isolate for 10 days from when you had the test.
Anyone you live with, and anyone in your support bubble, must self-isolate for 14 days from when you start self-isolating.
Read more about how long to self-isolate.
In England, you'll get an email, text or call from the NHS Test and Trace service if you test positive after having symptoms.
You'll be asked where you've been recently and who you've been in close contact with.
Unclear, void, borderline or inconclusive test result
An unclear, void, borderline or inconclusive result means it's not possible to say if you had coronavirus when the test was done.
Get another coronavirus test as soon as possible if this happens.
If you had a test because you had symptoms, you must keep self-isolating and have another test within 5 days of your symptoms starting.
If you’re not able to have another test in time, you must self-isolate for at least 10 days from when your symptoms started. Anyone you live with, and anyone in your support bubble, must self-isolate for 14 days. Read more about how long to self-isolate.
If you had a test but have not had any symptoms, you do not need to self-isolate while you wait to get another test. People you live with, and anyone in your support bubble, do not need to self-isolate.