Anyone who thinks they could be infected with coronavirus can book a free NHS test to check if they have the illness.
People of all ages in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland can take a swab test to see if they need to self-isolate.
Tests can be taken at a central test site near where you live, or can be posted out to you for you to return.
The latest government advice is to only get tested if coronavirus symptoms are present – that is a high temperature, a new continuous cough, or a loss in the sense of smell or taste.
Anyone who has these symptoms can book a test through the government’s website.
Covid-19 tests involve swabbing the inside of the nose and back of the throat with a long cotton bud.
If the test is done at a local testing site, results are given over text message or email as soon as the next day.
Postal tests, meanwhile, could take an extra day to arrive at the labs and as such may take a short while longer.
To have the greatest chance of identifying the virus, tests must be taken within the first five days of getting symptoms.
WIth the rising infection rate, and more people seeking tests, the service can get very busy and therefore local test sites may be full, or postal kits may be unavailable, at certain times.
The government’s advice, therefore, is to refresh the website in ‘a few hours’ to check for additional slots, and not to book if symptoms are not present so people who need a test the most can have one.
Should I self-isolate?
Anyone with coronavirus symptoms must self-isolate, alongside anyone they live with, until their test result arrives.
This also applies to anyone in their ‘support bubble’ – the additional household they are allowed to socialise with if they live alone.
Anyone who can’t get a test as the five-day period where testing will be effective once symptoms have started is over, must also self-isolate.
After getting back a positive result, it’s important to self-isolate immediately, for at least ten days from when symptoms started, or from ten days when the test was taken if symptoms were not present.
People the infected person lives with, and anyone in their support bubble, must self-isolate themselves for 14 days from when the infected person starts self-isolating.
After getting a negative result back, self-isolating is not necessary as long as everyone you live with and everyone in your support bubble has also tested negative.