COVID-19 testing


Changes to testing for COVID-19

Click here for the latest information on COVID-19 testing in England, including who is eligible for a free test, what you can do instead of taking a test and more. 


Types of test

There are different tests you can get to check if you have COVID-19. The test you need depends on why you're getting tested.

The 2 main tests are:

  • PCR tests – mainly for people with symptoms, they're sent to a lab to be checked
  • rapid lateral flow tests – only for people who do not have symptoms, they give a quick result using a device similar to a pregnancy test

PCR tests 

PCR tests, if you do have coronavirus symptoms, can be booked at local test sites, or a home test kit can be requested if you cannot get to a test site.

Rapid lateral flow tests

Free rapid lateral tests are for when you do not have symptoms. See the five easy stages of taking a rapid lateral flow test below. 


More information

Find out more about the different types of test on the NHS website here.