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When to get a test

If you have any coronavirus symptoms, you must self-isolate at home straightaway and get a test. People you live with in your household must also isolate with you at home


You can only get a free NHS test if at least one of the following applies:

  • you have a high temperature

  • you have a new, continuous cough

  • you’ve lost your sense of smell or taste or it’s changed

  • you’ve been asked to by a local council

  • you’re taking part in a government pilot project

You can also get a test for someone you live with if they have symptoms.

If you’re going into hospital

You may need to get tested if you’re due to have surgery or a procedure.

The hospital will arrange this for you. Contact your hospital department if you have any questions. ​

Who cannot get a free test

You cannot get a free NHS test unless you have symptoms, have been asked to by your local council, live in England and have been told to by your hospital, or are taking part in a government pilot project.

This applies even if:

  • you live with someone who has coronavirus

  • you’ve had close contact with someone who has coronavirus

  • you’ve come to the UK from a high risk country

  • you’re planning to leave the country

  • your employer or school has asked you to get a test

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