Coronavirus information and guidance

Getting tested for COVID-19

COVID-19 testing rules have now changed across England. Find out the latest information on where to go to get tested, which test is most suitable for you, and what to do if you get a positive COVID-19 test result.

For the most up-to-date advice on COVID-19 please visit GOV.UK.

There are different tests you can get to check if you have coronavirus (COVID-19). The test you need depends on why you're getting tested.

The two main tests are:

  • PCR tests - mainly for people with symptoms, they're sent to a lab to be checked
  • LFD tests - these are usually for people who do not have symptoms. These tests give you a quick result using a device similar to a pregnancy test

Tests are currently free until 1 April 2022.

Which test do I need if I have COVID-19 symptoms?

You will need a PCR (polymerase chain reaction) test if you have at least one of these three coronavirus (COVID-19) symptoms:

  • a high temperature
  • a new, continuous cough
  • you’ve lost your sense of smell or taste or it’s changed


  • you’ve been in contact with someone who’s tested positive
  • you’ve been asked to get a test by a local council or contact tracers
  • a GP or other health professional has asked you to get a test
  • you’ve been asked to get a test to confirm a positive result
  • you need to get a test for someone you live with who has symptoms

If you come under any of the points above, book a visit to a test site to have the test today.

Southend Airport

Location: London Southend Airport, Long Stay Car Park 3, Southend-on-Sea, SS2 6YE

Opening Hours: Monday to Sunday 9am to 3pm PCR testing only

Test book through or you can call NHS 119.

Southend Short Street

Location: Short Street Car Park, Southend-on-Sea, SS2 5BS

Opening Hours: Monday to Sunday 9am to 6pm PCR testing only

Test book through or you can call NHS 119.

LFD test, if you do not have symptoms

Residents can apply for symptom-free LFD testing kits. If not already supplied via your educational institution or workplace testing programme. To get a LFD rapid home test kit go to Central Government's website.

If residents are unable to order online, they are available from Southend Leisure and Tennis Centre and Museums, up until 31 March 2022.

All testing and collection sites in Southend are viewable on this map.

  • you do not need to book an appointment. Test kits are Free
  • you can collect 2 packs of home test kits. Each pack contains seven tests
  • you must be over 18 years old to collect home test kit
  • once you have completed your home test, you should report every result (positive, negative or void) to NHS Test and Trace, on the same day you take the test. Report your result online or by phone as indicated on the kit

Southend Leisure and Tennis Centre

Garon Park, Eastern Avenue, SS2 4FA

Southend Museums

  • Beecroft Art Gallery, Victoria Avenue, Southend-on-Sea, Essex, SS2 6EX
  • Prittlewell Priory, Victoria Avenue, Southend-on-Sea, SS2 6NB

Pharmacy Collect

  • you can collect 2 kits
  • residents will need to register for a collect code through or by calling 119 before collecting home test kits from a pharmacy
  • if residents do not wish to register for a collect code, you can request an anonymous collection, but you should use collect codes wherever possible
  • information on the test kit lot number and the number of test kits supplied will be recorded and reported for each transaction
  • this data will be recorded daily to help identify areas of COVID-19 testing demand and support traceability of outbreaks
  • the minimum recommended age for a person to collect LFD test kits is 16 years old

For more information on regular rapid lateral flow COVID-19 testing for people without symptoms visit

Assisted testing locations

These tests are only for people without symptoms. If you have symptoms book a test on GOV.UK.

If you have a health condition that makes testing yourself at home difficult, you can now get an assisted test at the following pharmacies across Southend-on-Sea.

What happens if I want to get tested for COVID-19 from April?

Free lateral flow tests (LFDs) won't be available after 1 April, except for the over-75s and over-12s with weakened immune systems and social care workers and NHS staff. Everyone else will have to buy a test from pharmacists or other retailers.

Further details of all of the ‘at risk’ groups that can still get free tests will be announced in March 2022.

I've tested positive for COVID-19 through my LFD test - what do I do next?

Anyone who receives a positive lateral flow test result should still report their result on GOV.UK.

If you get a positive lateral flow test result, you do not usually need to get a follow-up PCR test. You should only get a follow-up PCR test if:

  • you’re eligible for new COVID-19 treatments
  • you’re asked to do so as part of research

By law, you do not need to self-isolate. However, government guidance recommends that those who test positive stay at home and avoid contact with others for at least five full days.

If you're eligible for new COVID-19 treatments

If you're eligible for new COVID-19 treatments, you should be sent a PCR test to use if you have symptoms. If you do not have a PCR test at home, you can use a rapid lateral flow test.

Find out how to get a test to check if you're eligible for new COVID-19 treatments.

If you live with or have been in contact with someone who's tested positive

Recent government guidelines outline that you're no longer advised to do daily rapid lateral flow tests after you've come into contact with someone who has COVID-19.

If you live with or have stayed overnight in the household of someone who has the virus, you should follow the advice for close contacts of people with COVID-19 on GOV.UK.

If you've had contact with someone with COVID-19 but do not live with them or have not stayed overnight in their household, follow the guidance on how to stay safe and prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Travelling abroad from England or returning

You may need to take a test before, during and after your trip.

Visit the government website to check the guidance on specific countries and their requirements to enter.

Don’t forget, when travelling abroad you’ll need to pay for a test yourself. You cannot use a free test from the NHS.

Find out about private providers of COVID-19 testing.

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Telephone: 01702 215000

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