Covid test: Can you get a Covid test without symptoms? Who is eligible?

Coronavirus testing is a key part of the Government’s Covid response. Liverpool was the first England city to have regular coronavirus testing for all residents, whether they had symptoms or not. The scheme in Liverpool as part of a pilot scheme. explains if you can get a coronavirus test without symptoms and who exactly is eligible for tests in these cases.

Can you get a coronavirus test without symptoms?

Free NHS tests are only available for those if the following applies:

  • You have a high temperature
  • You have a new, continuous cough
  • You have lost your sense of smell or taste or it’s changed
  • You have been asked to by a local council
  • You are taking part in a government pilot project.

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The Health Secretary, speaking ahead of the last day of the national lockdown in England, said the central challenge of the pandemic is keeping the R number below one when around one in three people with the virus have no symptoms at all.

He announced the rollout of the Government’s new university student testing programme and community testing expansion.

Mr Hancock said: “We won’t just test people with symptoms.”

He added testing people who can “break the chain of transmission and stop other people catching Covid”.

The Health Secretary said: “The light of dawn is on the horizon, it’s the moment to stand firm until the morning so we can look back and see clearly that everything we gave and everything we did, it was not for nothing but so we could save lives and build back better for everyone.”

Who is eligible to get a Covid test without symptoms?

Currently, most people can only get a test if they have symptoms.

But from December 2, mass testing will be rolled out in tier 3 areas meaning 23.3 million people could have access to testing without exhibiting symptoms.

Tier 3 areas from December 2 will include:

East Midlands

  • Derby and Derbyshire
  • Leicester and Leicestershire
  • Lincolnshire
  • Nottingham and Nottinghamshire

North East

  • North East Combined Authority: County Durham, Gateshead, South Tyneside and Sunderland
  • North of Tyne Combined Authority: Newcastle upon Tyne, North Tyneside and Northumberland
  • Tees Valley Combined Authority: Darlington, Hartlepool, Middlesbrough, Redcar and Cleveland and Stockton-on-Tees

North West

  • Blackburn with Darwen
  • Blackpool
  • Greater Manchester
  • Lancashire

South East

  • Kent and Medway
  • Slough (remainder of Berkshire is tier 2: High alert)

South West

  • Bristol
  • North Somerset
  • South Gloucestershire

West Midlands

  • Birmingham, Dudley, Sandwell, Walsall and Wolverhampton
  • Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent
  • Warwickshire, Coventry and Solihull

Yorkshire and The Humber

  • East Riding of Yorkshire
  • Kingston upon Hull/Hull
  • North East Lincolnshire
  • North Lincolnshire
  • South Yorkshire
  • West Yorkshire.

READ MORE: Liverpool mayor grilled over ‘pointless’ mass coronavirus testing plan

Many universities are also offering mass testing ahead of the Christmas break.

Students will be asked to take two tests, three days apart.

If they test negative, they are able to leave university in the “travel window” which begins on December 3.

Testing is voluntary and is not available at all universities.

England’s Universities Minister Michelle Donelan has urged students “to take the tests on offer”.

In Wales, student testing is expected to enable students to travel from December 9, but there have been concerns about not all pupils having access to a test.

In Scotland, testing will begin next Monday, with officials urging students to leave for home after a second negative test.

In Northern Ireland, students are urged to get a test, but now all universities in the nation are planning to offer testing.