Testing for people with symptoms (PCR tests)

If you have any symptoms of COVID-19, you must self-isolate immediately and get a coronavirus test.

The main symptoms are:

  • a high temperature
  • a new, continuous cough
  • loss or change to your sense of smell or taste

You and anyone you live with should stay at home and not have visitors until you get your test result. Please only leave your home to have a test.

You can order a home test to be sent to you, or for the fastest result, book an appointment at a PCR test site. You will be shown the times and locations available when you book.

Testing for people without symptoms (LFD tests)

Twice weekly rapid testing will find cases where people do not show symptoms and prevent the spread of infection.

Rapid tests using lateral flow devices (LFD) are easy to use. The test involves taking a swab of the nose and the back of the throat and gives results in 30 minutes, so those who test positive can self-isolate immediately and avoid passing the virus on to others. 

If you have any symptoms of COVID-19 the symptom-free (lateral flow) tests are not the right one to take, you should book a free PCR test and follow the self-isolation guidance.

How to get a symptom-free test

Pick up a test pack to take at home

If you’re happy to do the test yourself at home, you can drop-in and collect test kits to take at home. 

There’s no need to book, just find a site near you, check the opening hours and collect your tests. You will usually be given two boxes of seven tests.

Within the test kit you will receive instructions on how to take the test, how to record the test result and what to do if you test positive. You should record both positive and negative results.

Order test packs online

If you can’t get to a collect point or access tests through the other routes, you can order a box of home test kits online or through 119.

Watch a video showing how to do a COVID-19 symptom-free test at home.

Book an assisted symptom-free test

If you don’t feel confident taking the test by yourself at home you can take an assisted test at participating pharmacies or at the dedicated testing centre at Hove Town Hall. These tests are taken under supervision of a member of staff who will then process your result for you on site within 30 minutes. 

Age 18 to 29?

We're offering an additional way for you to get a symptom-free PCR test while you're out and about.

Other testing routes

Testing is also available through many workplaces and settings such as schools, colleges, universities, and the care sector.

Secondary and college students, as well as school staff, are being given tests to use at home twice a week, throughout term time and the holidays. Children under 12 should not be tested using an LFD test. 

More information about symptom-free testing is available on the GOV.UK website.

If you receive a positive result from a LFD you must self-isolate immediately and take a follow-up PCR test within 2 days.

For example, if you test positive on Monday, you have until the end of Wednesday to get your follow-up test.

While waiting for your follow-up result you and your household should follow the stay at home guidance.

If your follow-up test is negative, you and your household can stop self-isolating.

If you receive a negative test result this does not completely rule out infection so you must continue to follow national guidance.

Support if you need to self-isolate

Self-isolating can be difficult but help is available to help you get through it. If you or someone you look after needs to self-isolate and that means you can't work or face financial difficulty, you may be eligible for a one-off payment of £500.

If you need more than financial help and have worries about loneliness, the effect on your mental health, shopping or childcare, we have an experienced team who can help. Please contact our community advice and support hub.

More information

Covid symptoms

Test and trace: how it works

Stay at home: guidance for households with possible or confirmed coronavirus infection