The NHS website has provided a comprehensive list of COVID-19 symptoms and has advised that, if you are experiencing any, you should self-isolate and seek advice from medical professionals, who may ask you to get tested. But how do you get tested for coronavirus in the UK?
As of March 18, the BBC reported that 56,221 people have been tested for COVID-19 in the UK. Back in the end of February, 1,000 people were being tested every day, with that number now having risen to around 6,000 a day. However, Prime Minister Boris Johnson has introduced plans to up testing to 10,000 cases a day initially, ultimately ending in 25,000 tests being performed daily.
If you think you might have coronavirus here’s what you need to do, based on advice from the NHS.
When should you get tested for coronavirus?
The symptoms of COVID-19 are a cough, shortness of breath, and a high temperature. If you are experiencing these symptoms, you should call 111 to get assistance. It is especially important to call if you’ve been in contact with someone who has COVID-19 or have recently come back from a country that’s classed as a high risk.
What are the first steps in getting tested for coronavirus in the UK?
If you’re concerned you may have COVID-19 then the best thing to do is to stay at home and avoid contact with other people. You shouldn’t go to your GP or hospital. Instead, call the NHS 111 number to seek their advice.
You will only be tested for COVID-19 if a medical professional thinks there's a "high chance" you could have it, according to the NHS website. What does the test for coronavirus involve in the UK?
If a medical professional thinks you may have COVID-19, they will direct you to the best testing location and they may take samples of blood, mucus from your nose, throat, or lungs, or a stool sample.
Where and how you are tested varies depending on area and case. Right now, there are three different ways you can be tested:
- You may be asked to drive to a special testing site, or a hospital carpark, where a medical professional in protective gear will come out and test you through your car window.
- You may be asked to visit an isolation booth outside a hospitals.
- You mat be visited by a specialist testing team at home.
You’ll then be asked to isolate yourself until you’re told whether or not you have COVID-19.
Can you be tested for immunity?
As per the BBC, scientists are working towards a test that will tell us whether someone has had the disease in the past, by checking for the presence of antibodies (produced by the body to fight off infection). This will help us work out how widespread the disease has been, and whether people are safe to go back to work. Such a test is not yet widely available.
Whether you are experiencing the symptoms of COVID-19 or not, you should still try to keep yourself safe by making sure you wash your hands regularly and thoroughly and avoid touching your face.
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If you think you’re showing symptoms of coronavirus, which include fever, shortness of breath, and coughing, call NHS 111 in the UK or visit the CDC website in the U.S. for up-to-date information and resources. You can find all Bustle’s coverage of coronavirus here.
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