Information relating to coronavirus is regularly changing, so we will update this section with the latest guidance as soon as we can.

Symptomatic testing

What to do if you have symptoms.

If you have symptoms of COVID-19 or you have tested positive using a Lateral Flow Device (LFD), you must immediately self-isolate and book a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test.

You should book your test within the first five days of symptoms developing. However, they are most effective when they're done within three days.

If you have tested positive, all members of your household, unless they are exempt from isolation, must self-isolate and follow government guidance while you're waiting for your result. This is because it can take several days following contact with an infected person before an individual develops symptoms or the virus can be detected.

Remember: One in three infected people will not develop symptoms but still be able to transmit COVID 19.

If your test comes back positive:

  • you must continue to self-isolate for the full ten days from the onset of symptoms
  • other members of your household and your contacts must also continue to self-isolate for ten days.

As an extra precaution, Public Health England (PHE) is now advising close contacts to get a PCR test as soon as the original case is confirmed. (Note that tests are not suitable for children under five.)

A negative PCR will not release them from isolating for the full 10 days, however.

You can find more information on:

Getting tested

You can phone 119 or book a free test online. Tests are only available with a pre-booked appointment.

You will be advised on your nearest available testing site when booking.

Testing in West Sussex is available at the regional testing sites at Gatwick and Tangmere and at mobile testing units, which visit locations across the county.

Those unable to travel can order home test kits.

Guidance for key workers, care home residents and workers is available on GOV.UK's Coronavirus (COVID-19: getting tested.

Watch our video to see what it’s like to get tested for COVID-19 in West Sussex.

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Further information is available on GOV.UK's Get a free NHS test to check if you have coronavirus.


The main symptoms of coronavirus are:

  • a high temperature - this means you feel hot to touch on your chest or back (you do not need to measure your temperature)
  • a new, continuous cough - this means coughing a lot for more than an hour, or three or more coughing episodes in 24 hours (if you usually have a cough, it may be worse than usual)
  • a loss or change to your sense of smell or taste - this means you've noticed you cannot smell or taste anything, or things smell or taste different to normal.

Most people with coronavirus have at least one of these symptoms.


The following documents provide these key messages in another language.


The following translated videos will help you to spot the signs of coronavirus.

Last updated:
1 September 2021
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