Negative PCR test result (COVID-19 not detected)

If your PCR test is negative, you’ll get a text message to say that the test did not detect COVID-19. This means that the virus was not found in your sample.

A negative result does not mean that you’ve never had COVID-19.

It’s possible that you had the virus, but that:

  • your immune system cleared it by the time you were tested
  • there was no virus present in the sample taken

If you have symptoms

If you were tested because you have symptoms of COVID-19, self-isolate (stay in your room) until you have not had any symptoms for 48 hours.

You can return to your normal activities when you have not had symptoms for 48 hours. This includes going to work or school.

If your symptoms continue or get worse, phone your GP.

If you are a close contact

If you were tested because you are a close contact and you do not have symptoms of COVID-19, continue to restrict your movements (stay at home) for 14 days.

Do this from the last date you were in contact with the person who tested positive for COVID-19. If you’re not sure when that was, restrict your movements until the date you were told by contact tracing.

The people you live with

If you do not have symptoms, the people you live with no longer need to restrict their movements. They should continue to follow the advice to protect yourself and others.

Second tests

Close contacts who get a negative result usually need to have a second test. This is because it can take up to 14 days for the virus to show up in your system after you have been exposed to it. Even though your test result is negative, you could still have the virus.

A contact tracer will tell you if you need a second test.

Last updated: 13 September 2021 at 3.26pm

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