One of the most challenging things about coronavirus is the uncertainty: not knowing who has the infection or when it’s safe to return to normal life. Good-quality testing can help provide us with greater certainty. It’s a big part of how we’re going to defeat this disease.
As part of the government’s 5-pillar strategy for coronavirus testing, we are testing people who have coronavirus-like symptoms to see if they currently have the virus.
Who can be testedOur priority is testing patients to inform their clinical diagnosis.
We’re also testing:
- all essential workers including NHS and social care workers with symptoms (see the full list of essential workers)
- anyone over 65 with symptoms
- anyone with symptoms whose work cannot be done from home (for example, construction workers, shop workers, emergency plumbers and delivery drivers)
In addition, we’re also testing:
- social care workers and residents in care homes (with or without symptoms) both to investigate outbreaks and, following successful pilots, as part of a rolling programme to test all care homes
- NHS workers and patients without symptoms where there is a clinical need, in line with NHS England guidance
Please note that these lists apply to England only. Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland have their own lists and criteria. See more information on:
Self-referralYou can apply for a test directly if you are in one of the groups above.
Go to https://self-referral.test-for-coronavirus.service.gov.uk to apply for a test.
You can select a regional test site drive-through appointment or home test kit.
Home test kit availability will initially be limited but more will become available.
The user guide explains how to use the online self-referral service. (Attached Below)
Employer referralThe employer referral portal allows employers to refer essential workers who are self-isolating either because they or member(s) of their household have coronavirus symptoms, for testing. It is a secure portal for employers to use to upload the full list of names and contact details of self-isolating essential workers.
If referred through this portal, essential workers will receive a text message with a unique invitation code to book a test for themselves (if symptomatic) or their symptomatic household member(s) at a regional testing site.
In order to obtain a login, employers of essential workers should email;
- organisation name
- nature of the organisation’s business
- names (where possible) and email addresses of the 2 users who will load essential worker contact details
The testing processThe test involves taking a swab of the nose and the back of the throat, which can be done by the person themselves (self-administered) or by someone else (assisted).
The different ways you can get tested are covered below.
Regional testing sitesWe are establishing a network of drive-through regional testing sites. We aim to open 48 sites by the end of April.
Watch a video explaining the process for drive-through testing:
Home testingHome test kits can be delivered to someone’s door so they can test themselves and their family without leaving the house. Home test kit availability will be initially limited, but more will become available.