Following the large rise in Covid cases over the festive period, many people are isolating and booking a PCR test to find out if they have the virus.
But when should you get a PCR test? And how can you get tested in your local community?
We’re answering all your questions about getting a PCR test as Omicron cases continue to surge.
Who needs to take a PCR test?
You need to take a PCR test if you have any Covid symptoms.
This includes the three main symptoms of the original Covid strain, as well as any cold-like symptoms that could be attributed to Omicron.
However, you no longer need to take a PCR test if your lateral flow test is positive but you have no symptoms.
If you’ve been identified by Test and Protect as a household or close contact of someone who has tested positive, you can now take a lateral flow test every day for seven days instead of getting a PCR test.
Where can I take a PCR test?
There are two options for taking a PCR test. You can take one at home and post it for lab analysis, or you can get tested at a local centre.
If completing a test at home, it should arrive the day after you order it from the UK Government website.
You need to post your completed test kit on the same day you take the test. You should do this no later than one hour before the last collection.
It should be posted in a priority post box – you can find your closest one here.
You can also visit a walk-in or drive-in testing centre. You need to book an appointment to visit either kind of testing site.
In Dundee you can visit Kirkton Community Centre, Dudhope Castle, University of Dundee and Lynch Centre.
Angus testing centres are Bruce House in Arbroath and Myre Car Park in Forfar.
For PCR testing in Perth, visit Thimblerow Car Park or Broxden Park and Ride.
And in Fife testing sites include Bankhead Central Car Park in Glenrothes, Victory Memory Hall in St Andrews and Overton Community Centre in Kirkcaldy.
How do I book a PCR test?
You will book your PCR test online. If attending a testing site, you must make an appointment – you cannot drop in.
To book your PCR test, visit the UK Government website.
You’ll need to give some information, such as whether you are an essential worker or have any Covid symptoms.
You will also need to enter your postcode, so you can find out where your nearest testing centre is, and contact details so you can be notified of your result.
If ordering a test to your house, you’ll need to provide your full address.
When will I get my PCR result?
You should self-isolate while you are awaiting your PCR result, in case it is positive.
Some across Tayside and Fife experienced a delay while waiting for test results over the festive period, with some people waiting up to a week for results.
However, the Scottish Government has urged people to call the helpline on 119 if you’re still waiting for your test results after 72 hours.
If your test is negative you’re free to end your self-isolation.
If it is positive, you will be contacted by Test and Protect. They will give you a date to end your self-isolation.
This date can depend on when you took your PCR test, or when your symptoms started.
If you’ve tested positive on a lateral flow test, you should report your positive result online.
You do not need to book a PCR test. Test and Protect will then contact you regarding your isolation period.
What is the difference between a PCR test and lateral flow test?
A PCR test is only for those who have Covid symptoms.
Lateral flow tests are for those who don’t have symptoms, or for those who have been identified as a household or close contact of someone who is positive.
They are used to check if you could be positive but have no Covid symptoms. This is known as being asymptomatic.
Around one in three people with Covid-19 have no symptoms but can still infect others, hence why regularly using lateral flow tests is important.