A self-test is a test that you can carry out yourself at home, to reassure yourself that you are not infected before going to school or work. Self-tests are not a substitute for testing by the GGD if you have symptoms. And they cannot be used as a pre-admission test for an event.
Availability of self-tests
A self-test is a rapid antigen test that you can carry out yourself at home. Manufacturers of rapid antigen tests must have a temporary exemption to market their product as a self-test. On Rijksoverheid.nl you can find an overview of rapid antigen tests that have been granted a temporary exemption (in Dutch) and can be sold as a self-test.
Self-tests can boost safety
Self-tests are an extra way to help stop coronavirus spreading. They are rapid tests, so can detect infections faster. This can provide extra reassurance if you come into contact with others, for instance at school or if you work in a job that you cannot do from home.
Self-tests have limitations
The results of self-testing are less accurate than the tests used by the municipal health service (GGD). Do not rely on a self-test if you:
- have COVID-19 symptoms
- were in close contact with someone who has tested positive for coronavirus
- have come to the Netherlands from a high-risk area.
In these cases, you need to make an appointment to get tested by the GGD. The GGD test is administered by professionals and their testing methods are more accurate. This means the results are more reliable.
Self-tests are not intended as pre-admission tests. Special centres for pre-admission testing are being set up. In the future, they will issue people with proof that their test was negative.
Using a self-test
A self-test is an antigen test that you can carry out yourself. You take a swab sample from your nose and test it yourself.
Self-tests give slightly less reliable results than the tests used at a test centre, which are administered by a professional. A self-test reduces the chance – but cannot rule out – that an asymptomatic infection is missed. For optimum reliability, the test must be performed correctly, so follow the instructions carefully. It’s also your responsibility to contact the municipal health service (GGD) if the self-test produces a positive result.
If your self-test produces a positive result you probably have coronavirus. You will need to do a number of things. First of all, you and anyone you live with must stay at home. You also need to make a test appointment with the GGD for confirmation of the result. Self-tests give less reliable results than the tests used at a test centre, so there is a chance that your result is a false positive. If the GGD test result comes back negative, you and anyone you live with can go out again.
If your self-test produces a negative result you probably don’t have coronavirus. But a negative self-test result is less reliable than the result of a professionally administered test, so don’t throw caution to the wind. Keep following the basic rules, like keeping your distance, washing hands often and staying home if you have COVID-19 symptoms. You should also take extra care around people with a medical condition.