COVID-19 NI Menu Toggle Search
Testing

Testing

Everyone in Northern Ireland with symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19) is now eligible for testing.

What does the test involve?

When you book a test you will usually have the option of taking the test at home or at a drive-through or walk-through testing site.

The test involves taking a swab of the inside of your nose and the back of your throat, using a long cotton bud.

What should I do if I get a negative test result?

If you have been self-isolating due to having symptoms of COVID-19 and you receive a negative COVID-19 test result you can now leave your house as long as no one else in your house has developed symptoms of COVID-19.

If you still feel unwell you should phone your GP or GP out-of-hours.

If you have been self-isolating due to being identified as a close contact or following international travel and you receive a negative COVID-19 test, you must continue to complete 10 full days self-isolation.

What should I do if I get a positive test result?

If you receive a positive test result you should continue to self-isolate for 10 days from the start of your symptoms or until your temperature returns to normal after the 10 days.

Your household should remain in self-isolation for 10 days from the start of your symptoms. If anyone in your household gets symptoms they should book a test.

If you were asymptomatic when you tested positive you should self-isolate for 10 days from the date the swab was taken. If you develop COVID-19 symptoms during this period, you should extend your isolation period for 10 days from the onset of symptoms.

If you test positive, you will also be asked to take part in contact tracing to help protect your community. This is when someone from the Public Health Agency rings you to ask about people you have been in contact with. This will prevent the spread of the virus.

Key messages:

  • You do not need to go to a GP surgery, pharmacy or hospital if your symptoms are manageable.
  • If you feel you cannot cope, your condition gets worse, or your symptoms do not get better after 10 days you should call either 111 or your local GP or GP out-of-hours.
  • Self-isolate for 10 days minimum from when your symptoms started or from the date the swab was taken if you are asymptomatic.
  • Your household needs to self-isolate for 10 days and book a COVID-19 test.

What should I do if I have COVID-19 symptoms?

If you develop COVID-19 symptoms you and your household should begin self-isolation. If it is positive you should all self-isolate for 10 days. If it is negative the household can end self-isolation. You should also book a test as soon as possible.

There are a number of ways a person with symptoms of the virus can get tested in Northern Ireland. These are:

Key messages:

  • You do not need to go to a GP surgery, pharmacy or hospital if your symptoms are manageable.
  • If you feel you cannot cope, your condition gets worse, or your symptoms do not get better after 10 days you should call either 111 or your local GP or GP out-of-hours.

You can book a test at https://www.gov.uk/get-coronavirus-test


When should I get tested?

Everyone in Northern Ireland with symptoms of COVID-19 is eligible for a free test. If you’re not sure if you have symptoms, you can check using the COVID-19 symptom checker (https://check.covid-19.hscni.net/).

You should get tested in the first 3 days of coronavirus symptoms starting.

You should also get tested if you have been identified as a close contact by the PHA Contact Tracing Service or the StopCOVID NI app.

To clarify:

  • You should get a test if you have symptoms. If the test result is negative you can now leave your house as long as no one else in your house has developed symptoms of COVID-19.
  •  You should get a test if you have been identified as a close contact by the PHA Contact Tracing Service or the StopCOVID NI app REGARDLESS of if you have symptoms or not.  If the test result is negative you must continue to complete 10 full days self-isolation.

Where can I get tested?

Testing centres are available throughout Northern Ireland. Don’t forget you must book a test appointment: https://www.gov.uk/get-coronavirus-test

The drive-through test sites include:

  • SSE test centre, Odyssey Car park, Belfast BT3 9QQ
  • Lycra car park (near The Rec Club), Maydown Works, 60 Clooney Road, Derry/ Londonderry, BT47 6TP
  • St Angelo Airport, 62 Killadeas Road, Trory, Enniskillen BT94 2FP
  • Central Sports Arena, Kernan Hill Road, Craigavon , BT63 5PY 
  • Antrim Business Park, Randalstown Road, Antrim, BT41 4LD

All drive-through centres are open 9.30am – 5.30pm, seven days a week

There are also a number of walk through sites:

  • Ulster University (Car Park 4), Cromore Road, Coleraine, BT52 1SA
  • Ulster University Magee Campus, Car Park 3, Rock Road, BT48 7NT
  • Ballymena Showgrounds, Slemish Drive, Ballymena, BT43 7DS
  • Car Park at Queen’s Sports Club (PEC), Stranmillis Embankment
  • Longstone Car Park, Lisburn, BT28 1DD
  • Albert Basin/St Christopher Park, William Street, Newry BT34 2D
  • Lisanelly Avenue, Omagh, BT79 7BQ

All walk-through centres are open 8.00am – 2.00pm, seven days a week.

In addition to the four fixed sites, mobile testing units operate across the province. For more information visit https://www.publichealth.hscni.net/covid-19-coronavirus/testing-and-tracing-covid-19/testing-covid-19