This type of test is for people who have COVID-19 symptoms. They results are sent to a lab to be checked.
PCR tests are for:
This test should be used by people who do not have symptoms. They give a quick result using a device similar to a pregnancy test. You can order your free tests online or pick them up at your local pharmacy or community centre.
LFTs are for:
A temperature over 38 degrees celsius or you feel hot to touch on your chest or back.
You cough a lot for more than an hour or 3 or more times a day (if you usually have a cough, it may be worse than normal).
You can’t smell or taste anything, or things smell or taste differently.
The test usually involves taking a sample from your throat and nose, or nose only, using a swab.
If you do a rapid lateral flow test at home, you’ll get your result within 15 – 30 minutes. If you did the test at a test site, you’ll get a text or email with your result within 2 hours. You should get another rapid lateral flow test if you don’t get your result within 12 hours.
We have collated some frequently asked questions about COVID-19 testing. If you can’t see your question here, contact us.
You should get a PCR test as soon as possible if:
If you have symptoms you must self-isolate until you receive your results.
Anyone can now get regular rapid lateral flow tests without having symptoms.
About 1 in 3 people with COVID-19 do not have symptoms but can still infect others. You should do a rapid test regularly especially at times when you are most likely to catch and spread the virus to check if you have the virus. If people test positive and self-isolate, it helps stop the virus spreading.
Even if you’re vaccinated, there’s still a chance you can pass COVID-19 on, so you should keep getting tested regularly.