COVID-19 community testing for people with no COVID-19 symptoms

Community testing

Almost 1 in 3 people infected with Covid-19 do not have any of the usual symptoms but are potentially passing on the virus unknowingly to their loved ones, friends and others in the community. Everyone is encouraged to test twice a week, even if fully vaccinated. By getting tested you can find out if you are positive and self-isolate at home to stop spreading the virus to others. It is easy to take a test in Edinburgh. If you have no symptoms and have not been identided as a close contact, you can come to one of the Mobile Test Units, pop-up Community Testing Centres or use a home test. You can:

If you have COVID-19 symptoms or have been identified as a close contact

Mobile Test Units and Community Testing Centres in Edinburgh are strictly for people with no symptoms. If you have COVID-19 symptoms (a new continuous cough, temperature, loss or change in sense of taste or smell) or have been identified as a close contact, you must self-isolate and

International travel

Covid tests for international travel must be purchased from a private provider as NHS Test and Trace tests, which includes Mobile Testing Units and Community Testing Centres, cannot be used for international travel. You should check the latest guidance and approved private providers from individual countries.

If you have no symptoms and are not close to a community test centre

If you do not live locally, you can order free rapid lateral flow test kits online, pick up test kits from most chemists and libraries or call the National Testing Centre on

119.

Mobile Testing Unit locations and opening times

These units are walk-in - you do not need to make an appointment. They are run by the Scottish Ambulance Service for people with no symptoms and offer PCR tests. You will be sent your result in 24 to 72 hours. If you have symptoms or have been identified as a close contact

Please note that you can not collect home testing kits from mobile testing units.  

These are not approved for international travel. Covid tests for international travel must be purchased from a private provider as NHS Test and Trace tests, which includes Mobile Testing Units and Community Testing Centres, cannot be used for international travel. You should check the latest guidance and approved private providers from individual countries.

  • Craigmillar Medical Centre,106 Niddrie Mains Road, until Sunday 31 October, 10am to 5pm
  • Currie Library car park, 210 Lanark Rd West, EH14 5NX from Monday 18 October to Saturday 30 October (closed Sundays), 10am to 5pm
  • Westside Plaza Shopping Centre car park, Wester Hailes Road, EH14 2SW from Monday 18 October to Saturday 30 October (closed Sundays), 10am to 5pm
  • Edinburgh University, Keir Street car park, from Monday 25 October to Sunday 31 October, 10am to 5pm
  • South East Locality Office, 40 Captain’s Road, from Monday 25 October to Sunday 7 November, 10am to 5pm

Community Testing Centre locations and opening times

Community testing centres are walk-in centres for people with no symptoms - you do not need to make an appointment. Each centre is open for a limited time to offer rapid lateral flow coronavirus testing but may open again in the same location, depending on community infection rates. You can collect home testing kits from these centres (and most libraries).

Centres are often in libraries in areas where case numbers are or have been high. Libraries make suitable testing centres as they are in the heart of our communities and easy for most people to get to on foot, by bike or by bus.

These are not approved for international travel. Covid tests for international travel must be purchased from a private provider as NHS Test and Trace tests, which includes Mobile Testing Units and Community Testing Centres, cannot be used for international travel. You should check the latest guidance and approved private providers from individual countries.

McDonald Road Library

Open from 9am to 6pm from Monday 11 October to Saturday 30 October (closed Sundays). You can also pick up home testing kits here.

Blackhall Library

Open from 9am to 6pm from Monday 18 October to Saturday 30 October (closed Sundays). You can also pick up home testing kits here.

Wester Hailes Library

Open from 9am to 6pm from Monday 1 November to Saturday 13 November (closed Sundays). You can also pick up home testing kits here.

Fountainbridge Library

Open from 9am to 6pm from Monday 1 November to Saturday 6 November. You can also pick up home testing kits here.

Registering for a test at a community testing centre

You do not need to book an appointment, but you will need to register when you arrive. If you have a smartphone you will register with this. If you do not have a smartphone, a member of the team will register for you. Young people under 16 must be accompanied by a parent or guardian.

Taking the test at a community testing centre

You will take a lateral flow test at one of the community test centres and a PCR test at the mobile test units. It takes less than 15 minutes to take and around 45 minutes to get the results of the lateral flow test. The PCR test result will be sent to you in 24 to 72 hours. 

Please do not eat or drink 30 minutes before taking the test to reduce the risk of spoiling the test.

Our team will direct you to a booth where you will get instructions on how to take the test.

You do the test yourself:

  1. take a swab at the back of your throat and up your nose.
  2. put the swap into a tube and give it to a member of our team who will take it away to be analysed.

Parents and guardians must swab test children under 11. You can give consent to a carer or someone else accompanying you to help you with your test.

After you take the test at a community testing centre

We will ask you to return to your home and to stay there until we text your test result to your mobile phone approximately 45 minutes after you have taken the test. Please do not go shopping or do anything else until you receive your test result.

If you do not have a smartphone, we will ask you to wait in a safe area at the test centre until your result is ready.

If your test result is negative

This means that you are probably not carrying the virus at this particular moment. Please continue to follow FACTS public health guidance and the protective measures to keep yourself and others safe and to reduce your chances of catching COVID-19 in the future. We may come back to this site and if we do and you remain symptom-free we would like you to come back and take another test.

If your lateral flow test result is positive

You must take a PCR test to confirm the positive results from your lateral flow test. A PCR test is considered the most accurate test for detecting infection. You can 

Do not make any unnecessary trips or meet anyone from another household before you have the result from the PCR test.

If your PCR test is positive

You must self-isolate for ten full days from the date you took your PCR test.

NHS Test and Protect will contact you and ask you to identify any close contacts you may have been in touch with. Everyone in your household will need to self-isolate for ten full days after the date you took your PCR test. Close contacts will need to self-isolate, ten full days from their last contact with you.

Find rapid lateral flow sites and test collection sites in Edinburgh