COVID-19 Testing Information

COVID-19 Testing Information

Please note that the Scottish Rural Network does not control the test booking process nor the schedule of Mobile Testing Unit locations. We cannot make or amend bookings or offer medical advice - please refer to the details below if you require assistance with your booking.

Scotland moved from level 4 to a temporary lockdown on Tuesday 5th January.

You should:

  • wear a face covering

  • avoid crowded places

  • clean hands and surfaces regularly

  • stay 2m away from other people

  • self-isolate and book a test if you have COVID-19 symptoms (new continuous cough, fever or loss of, or change in, sense of smell or taste)

See what you can and cannot do to help suppress the virus.

Download the Protect Scotland contact tracing app. The app will alert you if you have been in close contact with another app user who tests positive for coronavirus. And if you test positive, it can help in determining contacts that you may have otherwise missed while keeping your information private and anonymous.

Testing in Scotland

The UK government has established a network of COVID testing facilities. This programme runs alongside the existing programme of testing in the NHS for clinical purposes and testing of key workers in health and social care.

Testing will allow anyone with symptoms to know if they have the virus.

Priority for Health & Social Care Workers

Health and social care workers will continue to be primarily routed through NHS testing at local NHS facilities. These workers continue to be prioritised to ensure critical staff can return to work as soon as it is safe to do so. 

The UK Government testing programme in Scotland is additional capacity to supplement NHS testing.

Who can be tested

You should self-isolate and book a COVID-19 test if you develop any of the below symptoms

  • A new continuous cough

  • A fever

  • Anosmia (a loss or changed sense of normal smell or taste)

Anyone in Scotland who is self-isolating because they are showing symptoms can be tested.  

A level of priority for testing appointments will be maintained for key workers and their household members to support them returning to work where it is safe to do so.

More detail about who is a key worker is set out in the prioritisation matrix for key workers. Please note the list is not exhaustive, but intended to provide an indication of the type of worker within each group.


NHS Scotland testing

Key workers who are in Priority Groups 1A and 1B in the prioritisaion matrix should continue to access testing through the NHS in Scotland. The Scottish Government is keeping this under review as additional capacity becomes available through the UK Government testing route.

The only exceptions to this are health and social care workers who are self employed – such as personal care assistants. These workers should access testing through the UK Testing Programme self-referral portal route described below. 

Where those in the other Priority Groups are able to access NHS testing already they should continue to do so. However, if there are times when NHS testing capacity is at its maximum, then full use should be made of the testing opportunities offered by the UK Government Programme.  


People who do not have symptoms

The test is only reliable for those who have symptoms.

Read more: guidance for households with possible coronavirus infection.


When to get tested

You should get tested in the first 3 days of coronavirus symptoms appearing, although testing is considered effective up until day 5.

No testing should be undertaken after day 5, unless it’s for a specific reason which will be agreed on a case by case basis by local microbiologists.

Where testing takes place

Testing under the UK programme in Scotland is currently conducted at drive-through test sites at:

  • Glasgow Airport

  • Edinburgh Airport 

  • Aberdeen Airport

  • Prestwick Airport

  • Inverness - University of the Higlands and Islands Campus

  • Dundee - Dudhope Castle.

There are also a number of mobile testing units which will be located in towns across Scotland for short periods of time.

You can also access testing via a walk-through testing site. You should walk or cycle to this site and avoid travelling by public transport or taxi.

You can book an appointment via the usual booking process. There are currently walk-through test sites in:

  • Aberdeen (Roy Strathdee Building)
  • Arbroath (Bruce House car park)
  • Cumbernauld (Fleming House car park)
  • Dundee (Park Place car park)
  • East Kilbride (Red Deer Centre)
  • Edinburgh central (Usher Hall)
  • Edinburgh north (Leith Library)
  • Edinburgh west (Gate 55, Sighthill)
  • Elgin (Lossie Green car park)
  • Glasgow central (Glasgow Caledonian ARC)
  • Glasgow east (Easterhouse Sports Centre)
  • Glasgow south (St Francis Centre)
  • Glasgow west (Riverside Museum car park)
  • Hamilton (Eddlewood Public Hall)
  • Inverclyde (Crawfurds Burn Community Centre)
  • Inverness (Highland Council HQ rear car park)
  • Kilmarnock (Grand Hall)
  • Oban (Mossfield car park)
  • Perth (Thimblerow car park)
  • St Andrews (Victoria Memorial Hall)
  • Stirling (Forthside Way, next to The Engine Shed)
  • West Dunbartonshire (Napier Hall)

We will keep this page updated as further walk-through testing sites become available.


Home tests

You may have the option, depending on availability, to book a home test kit.

Home test kits are an option where people seeking a test are unable to attend a drive-through centre.

The home test option is covered in the booking process.

How to arrange a test

There are a number of different portals you can use to book a Coronavirus test, detailed below. You can use this self-help guide: access to testing for Coronavirus on the NHS inform website to help you select the right test.


1. Citizens’ Portal

If you or a member of your household have symptoms, go to: ask for a coronavirus test 

You can choose whether to attend one of the testing sites in Scotland or, subject to availability, to have a home testing kit delivered to your home.  We recommend that you do not travel more than 90 minutes to reach a testing site.  If there is not a site near to you, then you should try to book a home testing kit. Guidance on tests for children is available on the booking system.


2. Self-referral portal for workers

If you are a key worker or have to leave home to work, and you have symptoms or a member of your household is symptomatic: go to the self-referral portal.

You can book a test for you or for your symptomatic household members at one of the testing sites in Scotland or request a home testing kit. 


3. Employer portal

In addition to workers being able to self-refer eligible employers can register and refer staff members or their household.

Obtaining a login for the employer referral portal

To get a login, employers of key and other workers should email

You must supply two email addresses that will primarily be used to load worker contact details.

Once employer details have been verified, two login credentials will be issued for the employer referral portal.

Employers should then login at to the employer referral portal to make referrals.

Any questions from employers or workers about accessing testing, the website, or results should be made by phoning: 0300 303 2713

These portals can experience very high volumes of demand and you may experience delays in being able to access them at peak periods of demand. Demand is being monitored very closely and technical difficulties are addressed as quickly as possible.


Home testing kits

If you complete a self-referral and order a home-test kit, the test is delivered the next day.

You will self-administer the swab, packing it up as instructed.

Each kit comes with comprehensive instructions to guide you through how to administer the swab yourself. Test kits come with further instructions and a short video to take you through the process step by step.  

A Royal Mail courier will arrive the day after to collect it and take it to the lab. The aim is that results will then be received via text within 48 hours. 

For more information on receiving your test results, check the website.