Information about Coronavirus testing

Coronavirus testing is now available to anyone over the age of 5 years old. This article will tell you about when you can ask for a test, how to arrange it, the process and more.
A nurse in a hospital corridor holding a folder and smiling

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

The tests are not suitable for children under 5 years old. 

If you’re asking for a test for someone else and the person is aged 13 or over, check they’re happy for you to ask for a test for them.

When to ask for the test

You need to have the test in the first 5 days of having symptoms. It’s best to ask for the test in the first 3 days, as it may take a day or two to arrange. Please help the NHS and only ask for a test if you or someone you live with has symptoms now

How to arrange a test

You can apply for a test on the NHS UK website. They will ask you:

  • how you want to get the test – you may be able to choose between driving to a regional testing site or getting a home test kit
  • for details such as your name, mobile phone number and address

If you meet the following criteria, you should apply for a test on the GOV.UK website:

  • you are an essential worker, including NHS or social care staff
  • you are applying for tests for the residents and staff of your care home
  • you have a verification code from your employer​

The NHS has published answers to common questions if you need help applying for a test.

Testing for adults with Learning Disabilities or who use Mental Health Services in Enfield

Testing is available for adults with learning disabilities (or who use Mental Health Services) and their carers who do not have symptoms and cannot access tests through the regional testing sites or home test kits.

These tests will be offered at: Park Avenue Disability Resource Centre, 65c Park Ave, Enfield EN1 2HL. Testing will be available Monday to Friday, from 9am to 4pm.

For more information or to book a test please contact Rosemary Mann at Park Avenue

on 020 8360 1195

or email  

You can also download an Easy Read guide about Coronavirus Swab testing.

The testing process

The test usually involves taking a swab of the inside of your nose and the back of your throat, using a long cotton bud. You can do the swab yourself or someone can do it for you.

The different ways you can get tested are covered below.

Regional testing sites

The government are establishing a network of drive-through regional testing sites. Watch a video explaining the process for drive-through testing:

Home testing

Home test kits can be delivered to someone’s door so they can test themselves and their family without leaving the house. Home test kit availability will be initially limited, but more will become available.

If you have been delivered a home testing kit or have been given a self-test kit at a regional test site, here is a tutorial video that supports the written instructions in your pack, from Dr Amir Khan:

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