If you have symptoms
Anyone in Scotland with COVID-19 symptoms can be tested. For coronavirus symptom information go to NHS Inform.
You take a PCR test and have the results within 48 hours (PCR stands for polymerase chain reaction). The test looks for the genetic code of the virus and involves taking a swab of the throat and nose.
Timing of the test
You should get tested in the first 3 days of coronavirus symptoms appearing, although testing is considered effective up until day 5.
No testing should be undertaken after day 5, unless it’s for a specific reason which will be agreed on a case by case basis by local microbiologists.
How to book
There are different ways to request a test if you have symptoms.
use this self help guide: access to testing for coronavirus on NHS Inform to help you select the right test
if you live in Highland, Orkney, Shetland, or the Western Isles, you can book a test via your health board website
You can choose whether to attend one of the testing sites in Scotland or to have a home testing kit delivered to you. Guidance on tests for children is available on the booking system.
There are different ways to take a test including:
Drive through testing sites
Testing under the UK programme in Scotland is currently conducted in drive-through sites operating at:
- Aberdeen Airport
- Cumbernauld – Broadwood Stadium
- Dundee – Dudhope Castle
- Edinburgh Airport
- Glasgow Airport
- Glenrothes - Bankhead Park
- Inverness - University of the Highlands and Islands campus
- Prestwick Airport
There are also a number of mobile testing units which will be located in towns across Scotland for short periods of time.
Walk through testing sites
You may be able to access testing via a walk-through testing site. You should walk or cycle to this site and avoid travelling by public transport or taxi.
You can book an appointment via the usual booking process. We have walk-through test sites in:
- Aberdeen (Roy Strathdee Building)
- Airdrie (Chapel Lane Car Park)
- Arbroath (Bruce House car park)
- Cumbernauld (Fleming House car park)
- Dumbarton (Risk Street Short Stay Car Park 1)
- Dumfries (Brooms Road Car Park)
- Dundee Downfield (Kirkton Community Centre Car Park
- Dundee (Park Place car park)
- Dunfermline (Dell Farquharson House)
- East Kilbride (Red Deer Centre)
- Edinburgh city centre (Usher Hall)
- Edinburgh Clermiston (Drumbrae Leisure Centre Car Park)
- Edinburgh Craiglockhart (Napier University, Craiglockhart Campus Car Park)
- Edinburgh Granton (Ainslie Park Leisure Centre Car Park)
- Edinburgh Niddrie (shared car park of the Jack Kane Leisure Centre and Jack Kane Community Centre)
- Edinburgh Leith (Leith Library)
- Edinburgh Newington (Newington Library)
- Edinburgh Oxgangs (Oxgangs Library)
- Edinburgh Restalrig (Portlee Day Centre)
- Edinburgh Sighthill (Gate 55, Sighthill)
- Elgin (Lossie Green car park)
- Galashiels (Langlee Community Centre)
- Glasgow Carntyne (Cranhill Community Centre)
- Glasgow Castlemilk (Barlia Sports Complex)
- Glasgow city centre (Glasgow Caledonian ARC)
- Glasgow Dalmarnock (The Legacy Hub)
- Glasgow Drumchapel (Drumchapel Community Centre)
- Glasgow Easterhouse (Easterhouse Social Work car park)
- Glasgow Green (Glasgow Green Hockey Centre)
- Glasgow Govan (Ibrox Football Centre)
- Glasgow Pollok (Pollok Community Centre)
- Glasgow Riverside (Riverside Museum car park)
- Glasgow Springburn (7 Closeburn Street)
- Glenrothes (Glenrothes Miners Charitable Society)
- Hamilton (Eddlewood Public Hall)
- Inverclyde (Crawfurds Burn Community Centre)
- Inverness (Highland Council HQ rear car park)
- Kilmarnock (Grand Hall)
- Kirkcaldy (Overton Community Centre)
- Livingston (Livingston FC Car Park)
- Milngavie (Milngavie Station Car Park)
- Oban (Mossfield car park)
- Paisley (Bridge Street car park)
- Perth (Thimblerow car park)
- St Andrews (Victoria Memorial Hall)
- Stirling (Forthside Way, next to The Engine Shed)
- West Dunbartonshire (Napier Hall)
- Wick (Riverside car park)
Small scale testing sites
Small scale test sites are being setup across Highland and Argyll & Bute to provide access to testing within local communities. You must pre-book an appointment and this can be done by calling NHS Highland on 01463 706015.
All sites can accommodate people arriving by car or on foot. Some sites provide a courier service to the laboratory and some are pick-up only sites where someone can quickly access a home test kit and return it through a priority post box.
Argyll and Bute
- Arrochar - pick-up only (fire station)
- Campbeltown (fire station)
- Cove, Loch Long (fire station)
- Dunoon (fire station)
- Gigha (fire station)
- Lochgilphead (fire station)
- Rothesay (fire station)
- Tarbert, Loch Fyne (fire station)
- Acharacle - pick-up only (fire station)
- Broadford (fire station)
- Dornoch (fire station)
- Fort Augustus - pick-up only (fire station)
- Fort William (fire station)
- Gairloch - pick-up only (fire station)
- Granton-on-Spey (fire station)
- Kingussie - pick-up only (fire station)
- Lairg - pick-up only (fire station)
- Lochcarron - pick-up only (fire station)
- Portree (fire station)
- Thurso (fire station)
- Tongue - pick-up only – (fire station)
- Ullapool (fire station)
Mobile testing units
There are also a number of mobile testing units which will be located in towns across Scotland for short periods of time. They will be advertised in your local area.
Home testing kits
You may have the option to book a home test kit.
Home test kits are an option where people are unable to attend a centre.
The home test option is covered in the booking process: book a test to check if you have coronavirus
Results are sent by text and should be with you within 48 hours. Results are issued to whoever booked the test.
If you test positive please follow advice on self isolation.
Negative tests and returning to work
Even if you have had a negative result, it’s important to still apply caution. If everyone with symptoms who was tested in their household receive a negative result, the employee can return to work if their work cannot be done from home, providing they are well enough, and have not had a fever for 48 hours.
If, after returning to work, they develop symptoms they should follow the NHS Inform guidance and self-isolate. Employees should discuss their return to work with their employing organisation.
Test results and staying safe
The test will confirm if a person - who is showing symptoms of the virus - actually has it.
It will not confirm whether they have had it and have now recovered.
It is vital those who test negative continue to follow guidance including precautions related to social distancing and handwashing. A negative result is only for a point in time – if after a negative result you or your household member continues to feel unwell please refer to NHS Inform guidance.
What happens to the test results
Results under the UK testing programme are communicated to individuals directly by text message and are fed back into public health records.