Coronavirus: Testing




Ask for a test to check if you have coronavirus

If you have symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19), you can ask for a test to check if you have the virus. This is called an antigen test.

 If you need medical advice about your symptoms:

Coronavirus: Testing


Who can ask for a 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 service is for people in England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland.

In England and 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 5 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.

Please continue reading to view information on how to obtain a test if you do not have symptoms.


When to ask for a test

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

Do not wait. Ask for the 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 I ask for a test?

You can ask for a test online or by calling 119.

We'll ask you:

  • how you want to get the test – you may be able to choose between driving to a regional testing site or getting a home test kit
  • for details such as your name, mobile phone number and address


Apply for a coronavirus test on GOV.UK if you:

  • are an essential worker, including NHS or social care staff
  • are asking for tests for the residents and staff of your care home
  • have a verification code from your employer​

Symptom-free Covid Tests

Due to high rates of infections in Kent, symptom-free testing has been rolled out by the Council. This is for key-workers (ie those who have to continue going to work during lockdown to provide essential services) and their families. Lateral flow tests are being used which can give results in 30 minutes. The rationale is to prevent the spread of the virus by people who do not have symptoms and therefore do not think they are carrying the infectious viral disease. 

Information, details and a link to booking is available at