How do coronavirus home tests work? | London Evening Standard

The previous target of 100,000 tests carried out per day at the end of April was not met and the figure has mostly remained below 100,000 since then.

These tests – which show whether you currently have the virus – are carried out at 48 dedicated coronavirus drive-thru centers across the country, but they are not available to people who do not have access to a car.

These people can receive home test kits. Some people who go to drive-thru centers may also be asked to administer the tests themselves.

But how do home test kits work? Here we review the steps indicated by the government and the NHS for the correct use of home test kits.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock oversees the testing program / 10 Downing Street/AFP via Getty

What does the test kit include?

The home test kit will include a swab, a plastic tube to put the sample you collect, a secure plastic bag, instructions and four stickers with a number and barcode.

Some kits may also include a shipping tube to hold the sample collection tube when you return it, but some may not.

Samples tested in the lab (file photo) / Reuters


Before taking 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 sanitizer.

You should also carefully lay the different parts of the test kit on a clean surface so that you can easily access them.

When you open the package containing the swab, you should only hold the end of the stick and not the end of the tissue.

Dabbing your mouth

Use a mirror to look down your throat, towards your tonsils.

Rub the cotton swab over your tonsils five times. If you had your tonsils removed, do it where your tonsils were.

Be very careful not to touch your teeth, tongue, or gums when swabbing the back of your throat, as this may make the test less effective.

Carefully remove the swab from your mouth, again making sure not to touch anything else inside your mouth.

Laboratory coronavirus test / Getty Images

rub your nose

Push the same swab into your nostril until you feel resistance – this is usually around two and a half centimeters.

When you feel resistance, rotate the swab five times.

Carefully remove the swab and do the same in the other nostril.

Pack your test securely

When you have finished swabbing your throat and nose, place the cotton swab into the sample collection tube, cloth end first.

When the swab is inside the tube, break off the end of the stick at the breaking point. This prevents germs still on your hands from entering the swab.

When you have done this, secure the top of the tube as tight as possible. Wash your hands again afterwards.

Place the barcode label on the specimen collection tube lengthwise.

If you have a transport tube, place the sample collection tube inside. Attach the transport tube firmly.