Testing - COVID-19

Testing for Coronavirus is now available to anyone over the age of 5 who is feeling unwell or displaying symptoms of coronavirus.

Tests can be booked on the government portal at this page https://www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-getting-tested

Who can have the test?

The test is only for people who have symptoms of coronavirus – whether that’s you, or someone you live with. It cannot be given to children aged under 5.

What is the test?

The test is an ‘antigen test’. It tests if you currently have coronavirus. It usually involves taking a swab of the inside of your nose and the back of your throat, using a long cotton bud.

What the results mean?

If your test result is negative it means you no longer need to self-isolate, as long as:

  • you are well enough
  • you have not had a high temperature for 48 hours
  • everyone in your home who has symptoms also tests negative

If you work and you cannot do your job from home, you can return to work as long as you check with your employer.

While you wait for your results, you (and anyone you live with) must continue to self-isolate. Read NHS advice about how long to self-isolate.

If your test result is positive, or someone you live with tests positive, you'll need to continue to self-isolate.


If you're worried

If your condition gets worse, or you do not get better after 7 days, use the NHS 111 online coronavirus service. Only call 111 if you cannot get help online. For a medical emergency, dial 999.

Call 111 if you're worried about a baby or child. If they seem very unwell, are getting worse, or you think there's something seriously wrong, call 999.

Do not delay getting help if you're worried. Trust your instincts.

Get more advice about coronavirus in children.

Before you start

You'll need an email account that you can check regularly. If you do not have an email account, you'll need to create one to order a home test.

Make sure you’re happy for your test results to go to this email address. Do not use a shared email address unless you're comfortable with others possibly seeing your results.

The home test kit is free. We will not ask you to give any bank details or credit card information.

If you're an essential worker

If you're an essential worker, it would help if you could give us your work email address. This would help us to easily identify you.

If you do not have your work email address, your personal email should be fine.

It would also help us identify you if you could give us your National Insurance number. If you don’t have it, you can still order a home test.

Help requesting a kit

Call the customer contact centre for assistance with ordering a test kit:

  • England and Wales: call 119 (free from mobiles and landlines)

This helpline is open from 7am to 11pm.


Watch: Questions about Bexhill Testing Centre

In today's Urgent Question on Coronavirus and Care Homes, I raised with the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care getting more care workers through the Bexhill Coronavirus Testing Centre. The delay in getting it linked up to the central system has been frustrating.

Huw presses Health Secretary on Bexhill COVID-19 Testing Centre

Huw Merriman, MP for the Bexhill and Battle constituency, has joined forces with local health chiefs in East Sussex to press for the Bexhill COVID-19 satellite testing centre to be made available to all those who now qualify for a test.