What are the differences between covid tests?

There are different tests you can get to check if you have coronavirus (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 result in 30 minutes using a device similar to a pregnancy test

Both tests are free.

If you have symptoms of COVID-19

Get a PCR test as soon as possible if you have any of these symptoms:

  • a high temperature
  • a new, continuous cough
  • a loss or change to your sense of smell or taste

You and anyone you live with should stay at home until you get your test result. Only leave your home to have a test.

Anyone in your childcare or support bubble should also stay at home if you have been in close contact with them since your symptoms started or during the 48 hours before they started.