Delivering coronavirus tests

Royal Mail is proud to be collecting and delivering coronavirus tests around the country, supporting the national effort to build testing capacity.

Delivering coronavirus tests

Royal Mail is proud to be collecting and delivering coronavirus tests around the country, supporting the national effort to build testing capacity.

We are a key partner for government’s coronavirus testing programme. We are collecting samples from more than 30 regional testing sites at the end of every day and delivering them to designated testing labs first thing the next morning. We are also providing home collections of testing kits UK wide, seven days a week for the government programme. 

To find out if you are eligible and to apply for a test, please visit the government website.

If you have received a home testing kit, please follow the instructions on the testing kit to return your sample. If you have any questions, please contact the number in the instructions.

We are also supporting other organisations return completed kits to testing centres through our Medical Sample Returns service. 

  • If you have received a testing kit, please follow the instructions on the kit. You may be asked to post your sample in one of our 13,000 specially selected Royal Mail priority postboxes. You can find your nearest priority postbox on the Royal Mail app and website. If you have any questions, please contact the number in the instructions.
  • If you are an organisation that would like to speak to us about this, please contact us or your account manager about this. 

Your home testing kit questions answered

Testing kits will be delivered to homes either by Royal Mail (using Tracked 24), or through other logistics providers.

You should follow the instructions and place your sample into a corrugated cardboard box and then into a plastic envelope (all provided with the testing kit). The envelope will have a purple label on it so it is clearly visible to our collection drivers.

There are clear instructions in the testing kit on how to package the sample safely - please place the sample into the supplied corrugated cardboard box and then into a plastic envelope.

Following advice from the Office of the Chief Medical Officer:
You are required wash their hands immediately before and after sample collection, and again before packaging. You should also wipe the external packaging with a disinfectant wipe.

The health of our colleagues is our first priority. Royal Mail has worked in partnership with the Chief Medical Officer to ensure that the process is safe for our colleagues. The Chief Medical Officer has consulted with a panel of experts on the safe transport of the completed COVID-19 test kits. The following steps have been put in place to prevent any cross-contamination: 

  • Each person will be required to wash their hands immediately before and after sample collection, and again before packaging
  • They should also wipe the external packaging with a disinfectant wipe
  • The return packaging that will be used for the completed test kits complies with WHO Category B packaging requirements for the safe transport of infectious viruses

We have also introduced an additional measure to give our postmen and women extra protection. Collection drivers will be issued with plastic bags so that they don’t have to touch the item directly. They will use the ‘inverted bag technique’ which picking up these items - putting their hand into the bag, turning it inside out and then sealing it. 

We are also reminding colleagues to wash their hands before, during and after their rounds, in line with guidance we have already issued.

If you have received a home testing kit, please follow the instructions on the testing kit to return your sample. If you have any questions, please contact the number in the instructions.

We’ll perform a contactless collection. When collecting your completed testing kit we will retreat two metres away from your door after knocking. You should then place the completed kit on the doorstep and close your door. We’ll then collect the kit. If there is more than one kit to collect we’ll place each one in a separate bag.

You’re not able to cancel your collection once it has been booked. If your testing kit is not available for collection please let our collection driver know.

We cannot provide you with a specific time. We’ll collect your testing kit by 4pm.

We can collect your testing kit any time up until 4pm. If we haven’t collected your kit by 4pm, we’re sorry but you’ll need to contact the NHS Testing Service on 0300 303 2713.

All testing kits must be packaged correctly. This is to ensure there is no health and safety risk due to the potential leak of contents. We require all kits to have an outer packaging, for the sample not be visible and for the lilac label to be attached. Each testing kit must be packaged separately.