How to do a Covid test properly and what to do if you test positive


A man doing his own lateral flow test and the NHS's Covid self-test kit. How to make sure you are doing your Covid test properly.

Once the swab is 1.5cm into your nose, roll it around for 10 seconds (Picture: Getty Images)

Adults in the UK will be able to start testing themselves for coronavirus twice a week from Friday. 

Boris Johnson announced that the free tests would be available at a Downing Street press conference on Monday. He added that he thinks testing ‘is an important part of the way forward’ and encouraged everyone to take up the opportunity. 

You can get the test through schools, workplace schemes, local authority sites, participating pharmacies and PCR testing sites.

You can even order them online and have them delivered to your home where you administer the test yourself and get results within 30 minutes. 

But you need to make sure you are doing the test properly and sticking the swab up high enough into your nose. 

How to do a test properly

First, make sure that you have washed and dried your hands so you do not bring any germs close to your face. 

Then, set yourself up by putting six drops of the liquid that comes in the kit into the vial. 

Once you’re ready, gently blow your nose so you get rid of excess mucus and lubricate your nostrils.

Put the soft, fabric tip of the swab into your nose and gently push it about 1.5cm inside. Roll it around for about 10 seconds to make sure you are getting a good sample. 

A woman doing her own lateral flow Covid test. How to make sure you are doing your Covid test properly.

Once you have a sample, take the swab out and press it into the vial that comes in your kit (Picture: PA)

NHS lateral flow Covid test kits. How to make sure you are doing your Covid test properly.

You can get the kits through multiple different ways, including ordering them online and getting them delivered to the house (Picture: Getty Images)

If you are using a lateral flow test that goes into your throat, you will need to push it to your tonsils and roll it around for 10 seconds there. 

Put the fabric end of the swab into the vial and press it into the vial’s wall with some force. Rotate it here for 10 seconds. 

You can throw the swab away now. 

Close the vial tightly with the nozzle cap that came in your kit and then carefully squeeze two drops onto the specimen well which is marked with an ‘s’. 

Put the strip down on a clean, flat surface and wait 30 minutes for your results. Two lines mean positive and one line means negative. 

If a line appears at the bottom then your test is invalid. 

What to do if you get a positive result

Military commander visually explains the 'lateral flow test'

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A positive test results means you probably have coronavirus and you and anyone you live with should isolate immediately. 

You need to report your test results to the Government and then order a PCR test, which gets sent to a lab, for confirmation that you do have the virus. 

The hope is that frequent testing will help the Government to prevent outbreaks. 

After the new testing scheme was announced on Monday, Health Secretary Matt Hancock said: ‘Reclaiming our lost freedoms and getting back to normal hinges on us all getting tested regularly.’ 

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