Testing is still essential in fighting the spread of the disease (Picture: Darren Staples/Getty Images)

Despite many in the UK looking forward to the reopening of bars and restaurants after three months of lockdown, coronavirus is still a potent threat to many.

The global death toll has reached over 500,000, with the UK recording an additional 36 casualties on Sunday 28 June, for a total of 43,500.

As some aspects of life start to return to a sense of normality, coronavirus must still be treated with caution.

If you or someone you know exhibits symptoms, how can you book a test and what happens during a test?

Who can be tested for coronavirus?

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Gov.uk’s latest official update online states:

The following groups of people can ask for a test through the NHS website:

  • anyone in England and Wales who has symptoms of coronavirus, whatever their age
  • anyone in Scotland and Northern Ireland aged five and over who has symptoms of coronavirus

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The official website also gives guidance on those who can apply for priority testing, listing:

  • essential workers in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland
  • anyone in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland over 5 years old who has symptoms of coronavirus and lives with an essential worker
  • children under five years old in England and Wales who have symptoms of coronavirus and live with an essential worker (this test must be performed by a parent or guardian)

A full list of who qualifies as a key worker for priority testing can be found online.

How do you book a test for coronavirus?

You can apply for a test online.

The NHS site will direct you through the necessary stages, asking you:

  • how you want to get the test – at a drive-through or walk-through test site or by ordering a home test kit
  • details such as your name, mobile phone number and address

covid testing sites map
A full list of the operating sites (Picture: Department of Health and Social Care Press Office)

You can also call 111 to go through the same stages, though there might be more of a delay if they are taking a high volume of calls.

What happens during a coronavirus test?

For those who have an on-site test, you’ll be given directions and instructions on what to do at your testing centre.

If you have been told to go to a hospital, note that you cannot enter the main hospital or any of the other buildings and usually you’ll be directed to temporary pods that have been set up.

If you’re driving somewhere to be tested, there could be a ‘drive thru’ testing area, where you’ll be given a phone number to call and someone will come out to test you.


solider taking coronavirus drive thru test
Drive-thru testing, temporary pods and at home kits are all available (Picture: PA)

Once you’re
at your designated location, you’ll be asked to wait for the medical
professional in your pod or vehicle.

When it comes to the test, a nurse or doctor will come out to you, confirm your symptoms and then swab you.

One swab will be put in the back of your throat, and another will be placed inside both nostrils.

The swab will be placed far back in the upper respiratory tract – which includes the nasal cavity right at the back of the nose, and where it meets the throat – as this is where high levels of organisms from respiratory viruses gather.

What happens if you test positive?

As there isn’t a treatment for the virus yet, you’ll be given tailored advice based on your circumstances.

If you’re able-bodied and generally healthy, you’ll be told to self-isolate for two weeks and keep hydrated.


social distancing sign
Social distancing is still in place, though the two-metre rule has been loosened to one-metre plus (Picture: AP)

If you’re concerned about the impact on any existing medical conditions, speak with the medical professional who gave you your results.

What happens if you test negative?

You’re good to leave self-isolation and carry on as normal, adhering to the latest advice from the Government, which includes the new one-metre plus rule.

The ‘one-metre plus’ rule in England will allow people to keep a distance of one metre, rather than two metres, from others, as long as they take other measures to keep themselves safe .

This includes wearing a face mask on public transport, hand washing, screens, limiting time with people and being outdoors. 

Should you self-isolate after a coronavirus test?

Yes. Your test
results could take up to 48 hours, and in that time you’ll be asked to
self-isolate.

You’ll be given in-depth pamphlets with additional tips about self-isolating.

MORE: Test and trace still ‘big problem’ ahead of biggest easing of lockdown yet

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Source: Metro