Coronavirus testing

Good-quality testing can help provide us with greater certainty during these unprecedented times. Testing has been expanded to people who have coronavirus-like symptoms to see if they currently have the virus.

The priority remains to test patients to inform their clinical diagnosis. However, the following groups are also being tested:

  • all essential workers including NHS and social care workers with symptoms
  • 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)
  • anyone who has symptoms of coronavirus and lives with any of those identified above

Additionally, testing also includes:

  • 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, in line with NHS England guidance

Testing is most effective within 3 days of symptoms developing.

Guidance on coronavirus testing, including eligibility, how to get tested and the different types of test available can be found here.