Don't take away a test from someone who needs it

Covid testing

People are being urged not to seek a test for coronavirus unless they have symptoms or have been asked to by a healthcare professional.

Despite an increase in capacity, the coronavirus testing service is currently experiencing unprecedented high demand, with reports of many people seeking tests despite not having symptoms of the disease.  

Tony McGinty, consultant in public health, said: "If you don’t have Covid-19 symptoms but are trying to book a test anyway, you could be taking a test away from someone who really needs it.

"And if people with symptoms are unable to get a test, it makes it harder to control the spread of the virus.

"And remember, the virus takes time to develop, so a negative test result early on doesn't mean you don't have it. You could still be at risk of spreading the disease to family and friends.  

"If you do have symptoms and need to book a test, you can do this online at or by ringing 119.

"Test centres are under instruction to turn away anyone without an appointment – so please do not just turn up."

The main symptoms of coronavirus are:

  • a high temperature
  • a new, continuous cough
  • a loss or change to your sense of smell or taste

If you have these symptoms, get a test.

If someone in your household has symptoms, you should self-isolate while they await their results. If you don’t have symptoms yourself, you should not get a test.

Published: 15th September 2020