The purpose of the UK Government testing programme is to determine whether those with coronavirus (COVID-19) symptoms (however mild) have the virus.
This is separate to the existing health and social care key worker testing programme.
Who can be tested
You can book a test online for anyone aged 5 or over with symptoms in your household.
Key workers, and anyone in their household with symptoms, can access testing through their employer in the first instance and will be given priority.
The Scottish Government have published guidance on coronavirus testing in Scotland, including who can be tested and how to book a test online.
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 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
You can find a further breakdown of each group in the Scottish Government's coronavirus testing prioritisation matrix
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.
Public Health Scotland have published interim guidance on testing in care homes and the management of positive residents.
When to test
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.
If you are self-isolating because a person you live with has symptoms, you can refer them for testing. By testing others in your household we can be certain if you should be self-isolating or can return to work.
Use this guide to find out how to get tested for coronavirus.