Publication - Advice and guidance

Coronavirus (COVID-19): getting tested in Scotland

Last updated: 13 Jan 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
Targeted community testing

Targeted community testing

Since January 2021, we have been working in partnership with Public Health Scotland, local authorities and NHS boards to deliver a targeted community testing programme for people with no symptoms of coronavirus.

By targeting communities where the virus rate is high, is quickly rising or has been identified as high risk, we can find positive cases that would have otherwise been missed. This is a crucial way to stop the spread of the virus in local communities.

Further information on the number of cases identified through this programme can be found on the Public Health Scotland COVID-19 statistical dashboard.

Around 1 in 3 people with coronavirus do not have symptoms.  That is why free, fast and regular testing for people who do not have symptoms is available to everyone in Scotland.  If you live in a targeted community it is particularly important that you participate in testing. Financial and practical support is available to help anyone who tests positive.

Further information on which communities are being targeted can be found on your NHS Board website.



Dumfries and Galloway




Greater Glasgow and Clyde


East Renfrewshire, Refrewshire, Glasgow City, Inverclyde, East and West Dunbartonshire





Western Isles


You may also see targeted local advertising encouraging you to test.

There are two types of test sites in the targeted community testing programme, that may be available in your area:

Mobile testing units

Mobile testing units run by the Scottish Ambulance Service will offer either:

  • rapid lateral flow tests you can take home and record your result online, or
  • onsite PCR tests that will then be sent to a laboratory for analysis

If you want a PCR test you must book in advance using the process below:

  1. go to  scroll down until you get to the 'Get a free PCR test' section and select ‘start now’
  2. answer yes or no to essential worker
  3. scroll to the bottom of page and select ‘continue’
  4. select no, none of these symptoms
  5. asked to get a follow up test - choose no
  6. when asked if part of a trial or government pilot, choose no
  7. select ‘My local council or health protection team has asked me to get a test, even though I do not have symptoms’


First published: 11 Jan 2021 Last updated: 13 Jan 2022 -