How to book a COVID test

If you are contacted by NHS Test and Trace, you must stay at home and isolate for two weeks. If you get symptoms, you must ring NHS 111 and find out how to get a coronavirus test. Here’s how you can book a COVID-19 test online.

Who can ask for a coronavirus test?

You can ask for 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

This is true for people in England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland.

If you live in England or Wales, you can ask for a test for a child who lives with you, whatever their age.

In Scotland and Northern Ireland, you can only get a test for your child if they are aged five or over.

If you’re asking for a test for someone else, and the person is aged 13 or over, check they’re happy for you to ask for a test for them.

You could only ask for tests for people who have coronavirus symptoms now, and you need to get the test done within the first five days of having symptoms.

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How do they test you for coronavirus?

The coronavirus test is an ‘antigen test’, and it tests if you currently have the coronavirus.

The test usually involves taking a swab of the inside of your nose and the back of your throat.

For the swab, you use a long cotton bud.

You can do the swab yourself if you are aged 12 or over, or someone can do it for you.

Children aged 11 need their parent or guardian to swab test them.

Will I get a test?

There is a very high demand for tests at the moment, with the Government encouraging people to get tested as soon as they are showing symptoms.

People in hospital and essential workers, including NHS and social care staff, are getting priority.

Even if you are successful in requesting a test, the Government cannot guarantee you will get one.

Whether or not you get one depends on how many tests are available each day in different parts of the country.

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How to book a COVID test

You can apply for a coronavirus test online.

You will be asked how you want to get the test, either by driving to a regional testing site or getting a home test kit.

You will also need to provide personal details such as your name, phone number, and address.

You can only order a coronavirus home test if you have symptoms of coronavirus and you’re self-isolating at home.

The NHS site warns only to order the kit if you have symptoms for no longer than five days.

Ordering the test within the first three days allows for two days to arrive before the five day period is up.

If one of the following is true, you must apply for a test on
• You are an essential worker, including NHS or social care staff
• You are asking for tests for the residents and staff of your care home
• You have a verification code from your employer

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