The Government advises anyone experiencing coronavirus symptoms to get tested, to help stop the spread of the virus.
Coronavirus symptoms include:
- A high temperature
- A new, continuous cough
- A loss or change to your sense of smell or taste
You should get your test done inside the first five days of having symptoms.
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Tests are free, and there are multiple ways of getting one.
How to get a coronavirus test
You can either order a home testing kit, which will be delivered to your door, or go to a testing centre.
To book a test, head to the Government website.
What happens when you get tested?
If you are getting a test because you have symptoms, you and anyone you live with must stay at home until you get your result.
The test involves taking a swab of the inside of your nose and the back of your throat, using a long cotton bud.
You can do the swab yourself (if you are aged 12 or over) or someone can do it for you. Parents or guardians have to swab test children aged 11 or under.
Once you’ve received your home testing kit, you must register it so that you can receive your results.
How long does it take to get the results?
According to the NHS, most people get their results the day after taking the test.
Some results might take longer, but you should get them within 72 hours.
You will receive your result by text or email, depending on your stated preference.
There are 3 types of result you can get:
- Unclear, void, borderline or inconclusive
If you test negative you do not need to self-isolate, unless someone else in your household or support bubble tests positive.
If you test positive you must keep self-isolating for at least 10 days from when your symptoms started.
Anyone you live with, and anyone in your support bubble, must self-isolate for 14 days from when you start self-isolating.
If your test comes back inconclusive you should get another test as soon as possible.
If you are not able to have another test in time, you and your support bubble must isolate as if the test were positive.
This is despite Boris Johnson promising the UK would have a “world beating” Covid testing system by June.
According to leaked figures, three-quarters of all tests miss the government target of 24 hours between booking and result.
Jon Ashworth, shadow health secretary, told The Sunday Times: “People ill or with a sick child desperate for a test will be astonished that tests are piling up, left unprocessed, or even thrown away, because of errors in transportation and swabbing, while at the same time we are testing less than capacity.
“This really is ministerial incompetence at a whole new level.”