Coronavirus (COVID-19): Get a test if you have symptoms
Anyone with symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19) should self-isolate immediately and book a test.
What test you’ll be offered
If you have symptoms, you should book a PCR (polymerase chain reaction) test. PCR tests involve taking a swab of your throat and nose, and are used to detect the genetic material of a virus. They're a very reliable way of identifying whether your symptoms are coronavirus.
Who can get a PCR test
Anyone with symptoms of coronavirus should book a PCR test. These symptoms are:
a high temperature or fever
a new continuous cough
a loss of, or change in sense of smell or taste
A new, continuous cough means coughing for longer than an hour, or three or more coughing episodes in 24 hours. If you usually have a cough, it may be worse than usual.
You should get tested in the first 3 days of symptoms appearing, although testing is effective until day 5.
You should not take a PCR test within 90 days of a positive result.
you’ve been asked to get a test by your local council, health protection team or healthcare professional
you’ve had 2 or more void LFD results
What does fully vaccinated mean?
A close contact who is fully vaccinated means you've received 3 doses of an approved vaccine at least 14 days before you last saw the person who tested positive. If you live with the person who tested positive, the 14 days is counted from the day their symptoms started, or 14 days before they tested positive if they don't have symptoms.
If you’re a non-fully vaccinated close contact and you’ve already tested positive on a PCR test in the past 90 days, you should not get a PCR test unless you develop new symptoms yourself.
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.
You may be able to order a PCR test to do at home, depending on availability.