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Get tested for COVID-19

Find out how to book a COVID-19 test if you have symptoms.

You can book a free COVID-19 test on the NHS website. If you do not have internet access, you can call 119 to book a test.

About the test

The test is an antigen test, which is also called a PCR test. It can only tell you if you currently have the virus, it does not tell you if you have had the virus in the past.

You can choose to take the test:

  • at a drive-through or walk-through test site
  • with a home test kit.

You must stay at home and self-isolate while you wait for a home test kit or a test site appointment.

Find out more about the COVID-19 testing process on the Government’s website.

When to ask for a test

If you have COVID-19 symptoms, book a COVID-19 test on the NHS website. You can also call 119.

You need to take the test in the first five days of having symptoms. On days one to four, you can get tested at a test site or at home. On day five, you will need to go to a test site as it will be too late to order a home test kit.

If you are having an operation, you may also be asked to take a test before you go into hospital.

COVID-19 symptoms

The main symptoms of COVID-19 are:

  • a high temperature
  • a new persistent cough
  • a change in your sense of smell or taste (anosmia).

If you're worried about your symptoms, use the online NHS 111 coronavirus service. Call 119 if you can’t get help online. Do not go to your GP, the hospital or a pharmacy.

Testing sites in Lewisham

Please wear a face covering when you visit a testing site.

All PCR testing sites in Lewisham are open 8am–8pm. We have the following symptomatic testing sites in Lewisham:

  • Molesworth Street car park, Lewisham, SE13 7DS, 8am–8pm.
  • Canadian Avenue Lorry Park, Catford, SE6 9SE – mobile testing site (every three days)
  • Vanguard car park, Deptford, SE8 4DQ, 8am–8pm.
  • Goldsmiths Community Centre, SE6 1RN (access via Baudwin Road off Hazelbank Road), 9am–8pm.

You can book an appointment to visit one of our COVID-19 testing sites on the NHS website. You can also call 119.

How to take the test

The test involves using a long cotton bud to take a swab of your nose and the back of your throat.

You can do the test yourself or someone can do it for you. Parents or guardians have to do the test for children aged 11 or under.

Watch a YouTube video explaining how to take a COVID-19 test at home.

Watch a YouTube video explaining how to take a COVID-19 test in your car.

Testing negative

Testing negative means the test did not find COVID-19 at the time it was taken. If you have a negative test result you can stop isolating as long as:

  • you are feeling well
  • no one else in your household has symptoms
  • anyone else in your household with symptoms has also got a negative test result
  • you have not been told to self-isolate by NHS test and trace
  • you are not isolating after travelling abroad.

Anyone in your household who is isolating because of your symptoms can also stop isolating. If the test result is negative but they still have symptoms, they may have another virus such as a cold or flu.

Testing positive

If you test positive for COVID-19 you must self-isolate for ten days.

Read more about self-isolating and the support available.

Getting tested if you don't have COVID-19 symptoms

Getting a rapid test will help prevent COVID-19 outbreaks and help us all to get back to a more normal way of life.

Rapid testing is now available for everyone without symptoms. Book a test or find out how to collect or arrange home delivery of tests.