MORE than one million coronavirus tests are currently being processed each week across the UK, but demand is much higher.
An antigen or swab test can detect if a person currently has Covid-19, while the first antibody test to get approval in the UK will tell you if you have had it. Here's all you need to know.
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What coronavirus tests are available?
People can check whether they are infected with coronavirus via testing in NHS hospitals, regional test centres in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, Satellite centres, home test kits or mobile testing units.
- At present there are 50 places in the UK where you can get a coronavirus swab test.
- Or, you can order a free home test kit from the NHS website.
- Government antigen tests are free but there are a range of tests you can also pay for.
- There are also an additional 25 test sites that have been set up for NHS staff.
The testing put in place by the government has previously been criticised as it was revealed that some were being forced to drive close to 100 miles for checks.
The Department for Health and Social Care's website is currently showing a warning to people who are trying to secure a slot.
Public Health England has already given the go-ahead for the first coronavirus antibody test.
Who is eligible for the coronavirus swab test in the UK?
Anyone with coronavirus symptoms can get a test, according to the government's online health advice during the pandemic.
Coronavirus symptoms are:
- A high temperature
- A new, continuous cough
- A loss or change to your sense of smell or taste
You can get a test for someone you live with if they have these symptoms.
To apply for a test, head to the government website.
Where can I get tested?
The government says that you should get tested within the first five days of experiencing symptoms.
But, "if you have symptoms, get a a test as soon as possible", it advises.
You can either book a visit to have a test today, or order a home test kit if you can't visit a test site.
- If you're ordering a home test kit on day four, do it by 3pm
- On day five, you need to go to a test site as it's too late to order a home test kit
- If you can't have a test in the first five days of having symptoms, you and anyone you live with must stay at home (self-isolate)
This is where to find your nearest testing centre:
There are also an additional 25 test sites that have been set up for NHS staff.
The Department for Health and Social Care (DHSC) is working in partnership with NHS Trust in order to provide satellite tests for staff.
What if I don't drive?
Brits without a car will be offered a home test, including swabs and instructions.
They will be delivered by Amazon within 24 hours, before being collected the next day by Royal Mail.
All those tested will get their results by text within 48 hours of having their swab taken.
Some tests are being sold privately, but it is advised that you ensure they have MHRA approval before purchasing.
Yet, if you have at least two symptoms – especially dry and persistent cough or high temperature – you will likely qualify to be tested at a hospital.
If you believe that you have symptoms, please check online first and call 111 to get advice before leaving your home.
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