How long do covid test results take?

Coronavirus is now surging across continental Europe and the UK, with thousands of new daily cases as the pandemic rages on. The UK saw 2,988 new infections between Saturday and Sunday, which health secretary Matt Hancock blamed on “predominantly young people”. But the country remains focussed on testing, however, and the time it takes people to find out whether they have the disease will prove vital in curbing another outbreak.

How long do coronavirus test results take?

People should get the test if they experience the following coronavirus symptoms:

  • A high temperature (38C+)
  • A new, continuous cough
  • A loss or change to your sense of smell or taste

Everyone in the UK can now access a coronavirus test if they need one by calling 119 or visiting

The test should arrive a day or two following application.

Coronavirus tests are a packaged swab which people need to insert into their nose and send off.

According to the NHS, a coronavirus test may take two to three days to come back.

People will receive an email when their test results are ready, including one of three outcomes.

Their test will either show a negative, positive or unclear (may also include void, borderline and inconclusive).

Those who don’t receive a result should contact the coronavirus testing centre via 119.

While they wait for an answer, people must remain in self-isolation alongside anyone in their support bubble.

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Those who have a positive test result will need to remain in self-isolation for at least ten days after symptoms begin.

Anyone who doesn’t develop symptoms but has a positive test result nevertheless is an asymptomatic carrier, and they must also self-isolate for the same amount of time.

People living with a carrier must do the same, except for two weeks from the day the positive test arrived.

Unclear, void, borderline and inconclusive results mean the test was not able to conclude whether or not coronavirus is present.

In this case, they need to take another test as soon as possible.

Those awaiting another test will need to stay in self-isolation until they receive a conclusive result.

If they can’t take another test, they have to stay in self-isolation for another ten days.

People awaiting another test without symptoms do not need to self-isolate.

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