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How can I protect myself and others against COVID-19?

You can check the latest Government guidance and information about COVID-19 by visiting the Government website.

There are different tests you can get to check if you have coronavirus (COVID-19). The test you need depends on why you're getting tested.

The two main tests are:

  • PCR tests – mainly for people with symptoms, they're sent to a lab to be checked
  • rapid lateral flow tests – these are usually for people who do not have symptoms, they give a quick result using a device similar to a pregnancy test

From 1 April free testing for COVID-19 will end for most people. You may still be able to get free rapid lateral flow tests if you work for the NHS or in social care, are going into hospital, or you’re at high risk of getting seriously ill from COVID-19. If you still want to get tested and you're not eligible for a free NHS test, you must pay for a COVID-19 test yourself. You can buy a COVID-19 test from some pharmacies and retailers, in person or online.

Read more about testing changes

Find out everything you need to know about testing on the NHS website.

When to test

It is not compulsory to do a COVID test. However, consider doing rapid tests on days when you're more likely to spread COVID-19, such as when visiting someone who is at higher risk of getting seriously ill from Covid-19.

Please consider rearranging your plans if you have any of the main symptoms of COVID-19, including:

  • a high temperature;
  • a new continuous cough; and
  • a loss of / change in taste or smell;

If you do take a test and get a positive result, please rearrange your plans and stay home as much as possible for five days.

You may also need a negative PCR to travel to abroad - double check the Government website for the latest guidance.

How to do a COVID-19 test

Guidance in different languages


Any waste generated from testing must be placed in the sealable bag provided and put in your household waste.

Page updated: 31/03/2022 Page updated by: Gloucestershire County Council

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