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:
- PCR tests – for people with symptoms, tests are sent to a lab to be checked
- 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 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
You and anyone you live with should stay at home until you get your test result. Only leave your home to have a test. Anyone in your childcare or support bubble should also stay at home if you have been in close contact with them since your symptoms started or during the 48 hours before they started.
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.