Coronavirus (COVID-19): Get a test if you have symptoms

Anyone with symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19) should isolate immediately and book a test using this service.

What test you’ll be offered

The test you’ll book is a PCR (polymerase chain reaction) test. PCR tests detect the genetic material of a virus and are the most reliable coronavirus tests.

Who can get a PCR test

Anyone with symptoms of coronavirus should book a PCR test.

You should get tested in the first 3 days of symptoms appearing, although testing is effective until day 5. You won’t normally be tested after day 5 unless it’s for a specific reason. This will be agreed on a case-by-case basis.

You should also book a test if:

  • you’ve been asked to get a test by a health protection team
  • you’ve been asked to get a test to confirm a positive result
  • you’ve been identified as a close contact through Test and Protect or the Protect Scotland app

If you do not have symptoms, and you have not been asked to book a test for any of these reasons, you can get a lateral flow device (LFD) test.

If you’re a close contact of someone who has tested positive

You should book a test as soon as possible if you're a close contact of someone who has tested positive.

If you’re a close contact but you’ve already tested positive in the past 90 days, you should not get tested unless you develop symptoms yourself.

All close contacts must still isolate for 10 days, whether their test result is positive or negative.

How to book a test

Use this guide to find out how to get tested for coronavirus.

Self-help guide

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Phone 119 if you can’t book a test online.

Testing for children aged 11 or under

If you are a parent or guardian of a child aged 11 or under, you will have to swab test your child.

This applies whether you:

  • get a home test kit
  • go to a test site

If you have coronavirus symptoms you must isolate before your test and while waiting for your results.

Attending a test site

There are drive-through testing sites, mobile testing units and walk-through test centres across Scotland. For a full list of testing sites, read Scottish Government’s Coronavirus (COVID-19): getting tested in Scotland

Walk-through test centres

A guide to walk-in test centres (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z6JhOplZLIM)

Walk-through test centres are easy to travel to by walking or cycling. You don’t need to drive to them.

If you are attending a walk-through test centre you must:

  • stay 2 metres apart from others
  • maintain good hygiene
  • wear a face covering throughout

You must not travel to walk-through test centres by taxi or public transport.

Walk-through testing centres have been designed so people can move around them safely and to prevent the spread of the virus. There are other ways to access testing – such as home test kits and drive-through sites – that are more suitable if you're unable to wear a face covering.

At the walk-through test centre, you will self-test in a booth. The test involves taking a swab of your nose and the back of your throat. Your test sample will then be collected by staff and sent to a lab for analysis.

Home tests

You may be able to order a PCR test to do at home, depending on availability.