Covid-19 Patient Diagnosis

COVID19 is diagnosed by a swab that takes a sample from the back of your throat and nose. A test called a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) is then performed using the swab sample to look for evidence of the SARS-CoV-2  coronavirus.


If you have symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19), you can ask for a test to check if you have the virus. This is called an antigen test.

If you need medical advice about your symptoms:

You can ask for a test:

  • for yourself, if you have coronavirus symptoms now (a high temperature, a new, continuous cough, or a loss or change to your sense of smell or taste)

  • for someone you live with, if they have coronavirus symptoms

This service is for people in England, Scotland and Northern Ireland.

To ask for a coronavirus test click here: 

Please help the NHS and only ask for a test if you or someone you live with has symptoms now.

There is another type of test (antibody test) that checks if you've already had the virus. This test is not available yet.

These categories may change over time depending on the latest government advice.

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