Getting a test

You can help stop the spread of COVID-19, by getting tested to see if you have the virus.

There are different tests you can get to check if you have coronavirus (COVID-19). The test you need depends on why you're getting tested. The two main tests are free:

  • Rapid tests – only for people who do not have symptoms. Tests using lateral flow devices give a result in 30 minutes. These tests are used for regular, twice-weekly testing.
  • PCR tests – for people with symptoms. Tests are sent to a lab to be checked

Twice-weekly, rapid tests: if you do not have symptoms

Getting into the habit of twice-weekly testing as part of our everyday lives will help us all to play our part and do what we can to keep each other safe. With regular testing, alongside the vaccine, we can continue to ease our way out of lockdown.

  • Anyone in England can now get regular, rapid lateral flow tests without having symptoms.
  • About 1 in 3 people with coronavirus do not have symptoms but can still infect others. Getting regular tests is the only way to know if you have the virus.
  • If people test positive and self-isolate, it helps stop the virus spreading.

Find out more about twice-weekly, rapid tests and how to get your test kit

PCR test: if you have coronavirus symptoms

Get a PCR test as soon as possible if you have any of these symptoms:

  • a high temperature
  • a new, continuous cough
  • a loss or change to your sense of smell or taste

Find out more about PCR tests and how to book

NHS advert saying "Now we can all get free rapid Covid-19 tests to help protect