Coronavirus: Testing




Ordering a test to check if you have coronavirus

If you have symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19), you can request or purchase a lateral flow test kit to check if you have the virus.

 If you need medical advice about your symptoms:

Image of researchers testing coronavirus


When to order a test

You need to get the test done in the first 5 days of having symptoms.

Do not wait. Order a test as soon as you have symptoms.


What the test involves

The test usually involves taking a swab of the inside of your nose and the back of your throat, using 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 or under cannot do the swab themselves. Their parent or guardian will have to swab test them.


How do order lateral flow test kits?

You can order LFT kits from the website here This is a free service if:

  • you have a health condition which means you’re eligible for COVID-19 treatments
  • you’re going into hospital
  • you work in the NHS or in adult social care

If you do not meet the above criteria you will have to pay for lateral flow test kits, these are available to buy at pharmacies and most shops that stock healthcare products.