How to get a Covid-19 test

Getting tested as soon as you develop symptoms is an essential step to look after yourself and your loved ones, and protect our most vulnerable people and communities.

You can get a test:

  • for yourself, if you have coronavirus symptoms now (a high temperature, a new, continuous cough, or a loss or change to your sense of smell or taste)
  • for someone you live with, if they have coronavirus symptoms
  • for yourself, if you have been told to have a test before you go into hospital, for example for surgery

You can book or apply for a free test on the NHS website. If you don’t have access to the internet, you can call 119.

You will be asked:

  • how you want to get the test – at a drive-through or walk-through test site or by ordering a home test kit
  • for details such as your name, mobile phone number and address

How does Test and Trace work?

The NHS Test & Trace service ensures that anyone who develops symptoms of coronavirus (Covid-19) can quickly be tested to find out if they have the virus.

For anyone that tests positive, the service will trace your recent close contacts and, if necessary, notify them that they must self-isolate at home to help stop the spread of the virus.

You can help in the following ways:

  • If you develop symptoms, you must follow the rules to self-isolate with other members of your household straight away and order a test to find out if you have coronavirus
  • If you test positive, you must share information promptly about your recent contacts through the NHS Test and Trace service to help them alert other people who may also need to self-isolate
  • If you have had close recent contact with someone who has coronavirus, you must self-isolate if the NHS Test and Trace service advises you to 

The information you give will be handled in strict confidence and will be kept and used in line with data protection laws. It will only be shared with the Test and Trace service staff who will contact you and those you have been in contact with to support you and limit the spread of the virus.

When people are contacted to advise them to self-isolate, they are not told of your identity. However, if possible let them know when you first develop symptoms or when you get your test result so they will be better prepared for the advice given to them. 

If you are contacted by NHS Test and Trace please follow their advice

When the NHS Test and Trace service contacts you, the service will use text messages, email or phone.

All texts or emails will come from the NHS. They will ask you to sign into the Test and Trace contact-tracing website where you will be asked for your details, if you are experiencing any symptoms and for the details of anyone you have been in recent close contact with.

They will not ask you to download anything, or for any payment information.

If they contact you by phone, the service will be using a single phone number, 0300 013 5000.

Find out more or book a test on the NHS website

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