Everyone is asking – how long will it take to get my test result back?
People around the country have put their lives on hold after managing to book and take a test.
Schoolchildren are missing lessons and parents are unable to go to the shops.
Everyone is desperate to get the results back. Here’s what the government has to say about the length of time you will have to wait.
The following is for if you have had a swab test to check if you have coronavirus (COVID-19).
Getting your test result
The government says you’ll get a text or email when your result is ready.
Most people get their test results the day after taking the test. Some results might take longer, but you should get them in 72 hours .
What are the three types of result you can get?
- Unclear, void, borderline or inconclusive
What if your results don’t arrive?
If you do not get your result, call the coronavirus testing contact centre on 119 (England, Wales and Northern Ireland) or 0300 303 2713 (Scotland). The contact centre is open from 7am to 11pm.
Stay at home
If you had a test because you had symptoms, you and anyone you live with must stay at home (self-isolate) until you get your result.
Anyone in your support bubble must also self-isolate until you get your result.
What do the results mean?
Negative test result
A negative result means the test did not find coronavirus.
You do not need to self-isolate if your test is negative, as long as:
Everyone you live with who has symptoms tests negative
Everyone in your support bubble who has symptoms tests negative
You were not told to self-isolate for 14 days by NHS Test and Trace – if you were, see what to do if you’ve been told you’ve been in contact with someone who has coronavirus
You feel well – if you feel unwell, stay at home until you’re feeling better
If you have diarrhoea or you’re being sick, stay at home until 48 hours after they’ve stopped.
Positive test result
A positive result means you had coronavirus when the test was done.
If your test is positive, you must self-isolate immediately.
If you had a test because you had symptoms, keep self-isolating for at least 10 days from when your symptoms started.
If you had a test but have not had symptoms, self-isolate for 10 days from when you had the test.
Anyone you live with, and anyone in your support bubble, must self-isolate for 14 days from when you start self-isolating.
Information on what to do if you’ve got a positive test:
In England, you’ll get an email, text or call from the NHS Test and Trace service if you test positive after having symptoms.
You’ll be asked where you’ve been recently and who you’ve been in close contact with.
Find out about being contacted by NHS Test and Trace after testing positive for coronavirus.
Unclear, void, borderline or inconclusive test result
An unclear, void, borderline or inconclusive result means it’s not possible to say if you had coronavirus when the test was done.
Get another coronavirus test as soon as possible if this happens.
If you had a test because you had symptoms, you must keep self-isolating and have another test within 5 days of your symptoms starting.
Below: Check your local area’s coronavirus infection figures
If you’re not able to have another test in time, you must self-isolate for at least 10 days from when your symptoms started. Anyone you live with, and anyone in your support bubble, must self-isolate for 14 days. Read more about how long to self-isolate.
If you had a test but have not had any symptoms, you do not need to self-isolate while you wait to get another test. People you live with, and anyone in your support bubble, do not need to self-isolate.
If you need medical advice about your symptoms, go to:
England: NHS 111 online coronavirus service
Scotland: NHS inform
Wales: NHS 111 Wales
Northern Ireland: get advice from a GP or GP out-of-hours service
Call 999 if you feel very unwell or think there’s something seriously wrong.