Anyone with symptoms of coronavirus should be tested. You can book a test for:
someone you care for
a child in your care
Key workers, and anyone in their household with symptoms, can access testing through their employer in the first instance and will be given priority.
Key workers in Scotland
For the purpose of testing, the Scottish Government has divided key workers into 5 priority groups:
Priority Group 1A: Staff delivering NHS services, providing social care to protect and care for the most vulnerable, all NHS staff and independent contractors working for the NHS
Priority Group 1B: Staff with face-to-face roles in residential institutions with people in the care of the state and those who are working in essential services with niche roles, where service resilience is at risk
Priority Group 2: Essential workers in critical national infrastructure fundamental for safety and security, and life-line services
Priority Group 3: Staff directly involved in delivering other essential services
Priority Group 4: Staff and volunteers in third or public sector organisations including unpaid carers, and staff in nationally or locally significant industry important to economic sustainability and growth
Health and care workers
If you’re a health or social care key worker currently self-isolating because you or someone in your household has coronavirus symptoms, and you’re otherwise able to work, contact your employer about testing. Your employer will be able to advise if anyone in your household with symptoms is eligible to be tested.
The test is only reliable if you have coronavirus symptoms.
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.
There are drive-through testing sites at:
Dudhope Castle, Dundee
University of the Highlands and Islands campus, Inverness
There are also a number of mobile testing units across Scotland.
Home testing kits are also available and come with comprehensive instructions to guide you through administering the swab yourself. These kits are delivered and collected by Amazon and Royal Mail, and they do not have access to the results or any health data.
There are 22 local walk-through test centres being set up in high-population areas. 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.
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. You can either do this yourself, or a site assistant can do it for you. Your test sample will then be collected by staff and sent to a lab for analysis.
Testing for children aged 11 and under
If you are a parent or guardian of a child aged 11 and under, you will have to swab test your child.
This applies whether you:
get a home test kit
go to a test site
Priority for health and care workers
Health and social care workers will continue to be primarily routed through NHS testing at local NHS facilities. However, if there are times when NHS testing capacity is at its maximum, then full use should be made of the testing opportunities offered by the UK Government Programme.
You may have had a ‘could not be read’ test result. This means it’s not possible to say if you had the virus when the test was done. You’ll need to get another test as soon as possible.
You must continue to isolate if you:
have, or develop, symptoms of coronavirus
have been told you are a close contact by the test and protect service
live with someone who has symptoms or has had a positive test result
Repeating testing to show you no longer have coronavirus is not currently recommended for the general public.
The test can stay positive for several weeks after you’ve had coronavirus but this doesn’t mean that you are still infectious. You may end self-isolation after 10 days as long as you feel better and no longer have a high temperature.
If your employer has told you that you need to be re-tested, you should follow their advice on when you can return to work.
Because this is a new disease, it is not yet known how much immunity people will develop following an episode of infection, or how long any immunity will last. If you recover from an episode of coronavirus confirmed by testing, and you later develop new symptoms, you still need to follow all the advice about self-isolation and household isolation again.
Antibody testing is being used in Scotland for population research and, where appropriate, clinical management of patients. You can request an antibody test, but this will be at the discretion of your clinician and depend on whether this will affect your treatment or clinical management.
Antibody tests can show if you have had the virus, but a positive test does not mean you are immune from further infection or from being able to infect others. If you have recovered from a coronavirus infection you should continue to follow physical distancing measures and self-isolation advice if you develop new symptoms to protect others.
You won’t be tested for coronavirus unless you have symptoms or work in certain roles and need to travel for work. This includes those who work in care homes and selected groups of healthcare workers, and only if this has been agreed as a policy or occupational health decision.
You won’t be tested if you need to prove you don’t have coronavirus as a condition of travel.
If you need to travel for work and require evidence of a test, speak to your occupational health adviser.