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COVID-19: Test and trace programme


The NHS Test and Trace service was set up to:

  • ensure that anyone who develops symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19) can quickly be tested to find out if they have the virus, and also includes targeted asymptomatic testing of NHS and social care staff and care home residents
  • help trace close recent contacts of anyone who tests positive for coronavirus and, if necessary, notifies them that they must self-isolate at home to help stop the spread of the virus

How to help

You can help in the following ways:

  • if you develop symptoms, you must self-isolate with other members of your household and order a test to find out if you have coronavirus
  • if you test positive for coronavirus, you must share information promptly about your recent contacts through the NHS test and trace service to help us alert other people who may need to self-isolate
  • if you have had close recent contact with someone who has coronavirus, you must self-isolate if the NHS test and trace service advises you to do so

How to order a test

Please tell us about your symptoms as soon as possible and get a test to find out if you have coronavirus. Please tell us about your symptoms as soon as possible. The sooner you have a test, the sooner we can let you know if you and other members of your household must remain in self-isolation.

Members of the public can order a test through the NHS website.

If you are an essential worker or an employer, please visit:

If you do not have access to the internet, you can order a test by phoning 119.

The Government’s guidance on testing has more information on our testing programme.

The Government has made it as easy as possible for everyone who has symptoms to access a test quickly, and there are now many potential ways to be tested:

  • drive-through regional testing sites
  • mobile testing units
  • test kits delivered to your home
  • hospital-based testing for NHS patients and staff
  • dedicated testing centres in other care settings (for example, care homes)

When you order a test, you will get information on the options available to you.

You should receive your results within 48 hours of taking a test, but some results may take longer.

You will get your results by text, email or phone – and the message will advise you about what to do next.

For more information on the NHS Test and Trace programme go to GOV.UK – NHS test and trace: How it works.