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Publication - Advice and guidance

Coronavirus (COVID-19): getting tested in Scotland

Last updated: 28 Feb 2022 - see all updates
Published: 11 Jan 2021

Guidance on coronavirus testing, including who is eligible for a test, how to get tested and the different types of test available.

Coronavirus (COVID-19): getting tested in Scotland
If you do not have symptoms (lateral flow tests)

If you do not have symptoms (lateral flow tests)

Around one in three people with COVID-19 do not show symptoms, but are still infectious and can pass the virus to others.

Everyone without symptoms should test regularly with free lateral flow device (LFD) tests in order to help stop the spread of COVID-19.

When you should use an LFD test

LFD tests should be used regularly when you have no symptoms. You should test twice a week and, in particular, before you a visit a crowded place or mix with someone who is clinically vulnerable.

Close contacts, who are fully vaccinated, should take a daily LFD for seven days from their last contact with a positive case and follow NHS inform self-isolation guidance for close contacts.

If you have tested positive for COVID-19, you should pause routine LFD testing for 28 days after self-isolating.

You should count the 28 days from:

  • the day your symptoms started or
  • the date of your positive test, if you didn't have symptoms

Regardless of vaccination status if you're identified as a close contact during this time, you do not need to test or self-isolate, as long as you do not develop new symptoms.

If you develop symptoms you should not use a LFD, and instead self-isolate immediately and book PCR a test.

Get a rapid LFD test

You can either order or collect a free LFD test kit (containing seven tests).

You need to be 18 or over to collect or order the test kits.

Collect a rapid LFD test kit from your nearest COVID-19 test site

 

You will be able to collect one pack of seven lateral flow tests from any regional or local test site in Scotland.

Collect a rapid LFD test kit from your nearest pharmacy

 

You will be able to collect one pack of seven lateral flow tests from your nearerst phramarcy.

Order online for home delivery

 

A box of seven lateral flow test will arrive within 24 to 48 hours. Online orders of LFDs are limited to one pack per 72 hours.

Collect from local authority sites

 

You can collect a box of seven lateral flow tests from many other collect points established by local authorities. Please visit your local authority site for more information on additional sites in your community.

You can also collect LFD test kits from where you learn (school, college or university), from where you work (if in education, health and social care or if your workplace has signed up for our workplace testing programme).

You cannot use this service to book tests for travel. If you are planning a trip abroad read about international travel testing.

How to take a rapid LFD test

You should take a LFD test twice a week, and in particular before you visit a crowded place or mix with someone who is clinically vulnerable. 

The test will involve taking a swab from your throat and nose, or from your nose only. You will get a result in 15 to 30 minutes.

Throat and nose swab test kits have a blue and white box (COVID-19 Self Test - rapid antigen test).

Nose-only test kits have a blue and white box (ACON Flowflex) or a green and white box (Orient Gene).

Before taking a LFD test you should always read the instructions that come with your test kit, as it may be different to one you've used before.

Watch this video on how to take a rapid LFD test (video) on NHS Inform.

Report your rapid LFD test results

Your LFD test is not complete until you report your result, either online or by phone, and receive a result confirmation notification.

You must report your result the day you take a rapid LFD test. You should report your lateral flow test results on gov.uk.

Information on what to do if your result is positive, is available on NHS Inform.

A negative LFD test result is not a guarantee that you do not have COVID-19. You must continue to follow COVID-19 protective measures.

Workplace testing

All businesses and organisations with 10 or more staff in Scotland (including employees and formal volunteers) can sign up for asymptomatic workplace testing.


First published: 11 Jan 2021 Last updated: 28 Feb 2022 -