The Government has pledged to increase coronavirus testing rates to 200,000 per day by the end of May in a bid to ease the lockdown further.
The previous target of 100,000 tests completed per day by the end of April was not met and the figure has mostly remained below 100,000 since then.
These tests – which show if you currently have the virus – are done at 48 dedicated coronavirus drive-through centres around the country, but these aren’t accessible for people who don’t have access to a car.
These people can be sent home testing kits. Some people who go to drive-through centres may also be asked to administer the tests themselves.
But how do the home testing kits work? Here we go through the steps given by the Government and the NHS for using home testing kits correctly.
What does the testing kit include?
The home testing kit will come with a swab, a plastic tube to put the sample you collect in, a secure plastic bag, instructions and four stickers with a number and a barcode.
Some kits may also include a transportation tube to hold the sample collection tube in when you send it back, but others may not.
Before you take the test, you should blow your nose to get rid of any excess mucus, and cough into a tissue.
You should then wash your hands thoroughly, or use hand sanitiser.
You should also carefully lay the different parts of the testing kit onto a clean surfaceso you have easy access to them.When you open the packaging containing the swab, you should only hold the stick end – not the fabric end.
Swabbing your mouth
Use a mirror to look at the back of your throat, towards your tonsils.
Rub the swab across your tonsils five times. If you’ve had your tonsils removed, do this where your tonsils used to be.
Be very careful not to touch your teeth, tongue or gums when swabbing the back of your throat as this could make the test less effective.
Remove the swab from your mouth carefully, making sure again not to touch anything else on the inside of your mouth.
Swabbing your nose
Push the same swab into your nostril until you feel resistance – this is usually around two and a half centimetres in.
When you feel resistance, rotate the swab five times.
Remove the swab carefully and do the same thing in the other nostril.
Packing up your test safely
When you have finished swabbing your throat and nose, put the swab inside the sample collection tube, fabric end first.
When the swab is inside the tube, snap off the stick end at the break point. This stops any germs still on your hands getting on the swab.
When you’ve done this, fasten the top of the tube as tight as possible. Wash your hands again afterwards.
Place the barcode label onto the sample collection tube lengthways.
If you have a transportation tube, put the sample collection tube inside it. Fasten the transportation tube tightly.