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Last updated 7 April 2021

With India’s alarming infection rate still on the rise, the government has since recognized the importance of both testing and isolation to mitigate and control the pandemic within the community. In addition to the existing COVID-19 tests being conducted in state-owned health facilities, numerous private labs and test facilities are also offering test services for the general public. These test centers provide Real-Time RT PCR, TrueNat Test and CBNAAT Test for COVID-19.

The following are guidelines to where, when, and whether you should get yourself tested for COVID-19 in India’s major cities.

When should I get a COVID-19 test?

This may be somewhat confusing since the initial stage of COVID-19 infection is quite similar to that of the common flu. However, in most cases, the following symptoms tend to last longer than the common cold or fever:

  • Fever
  • Difficulties in breathing
  • Cough

Other clinical symptoms included in the list by the ICMR are:

  • Sore throat
  • Fatigue
  • Mucous formation and running nose
  • Muscle pain
  • Anosmia or loss of taste
  • Ageusia or loss of smell

Gastrointestinal problems are also not uncommon. It is advisable that if any symptom surfaces, you seek medical assistance instead of indulging in self-medication. Take medications as your physician prescribes. If you see the symptoms are persisting for more than three days even after administering medicine, you can go for a COVID test.

 

When and where can I get tested?

Generally speaking, hospitals and other government healthcare installations throughout the country serve as testing facilities for coronavirus. But in an effort to more comprehensively trace, identify and isolate new cases of infection, the Indian government through the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) has issued a comprehensive list of government and private laboratories aimed to mass test the population.

Here are the testing guidelines and centres in different cities across India.

As advised by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, you should call the toll-free number 1075 or central helpline number +91-11-23978046 for information before paying the facility of your choice a visit.   

Bangalore

The city of Bangalore has opened up its borders and done away with quarantine. Travellers from Kerala, Maharashtra, Punjab, and Chandigarh, however, are required to be in possession of a negative RT-PCR issued within 72 hrs of the departure. 

Available types of COVID-19 tests include the RT-PCR test, Rapid Antibody test, TruNat, Rapid Antigen test, and CB-NAAT test. The RT-PCR test will cost INR 800, TrueNat INR 1,250, CBNAAT INR 2,400, rapid antigen test INR 400, and rapid antibody test INR 500.

You can find the official list of available testing laboratories in Bangalore here. For detailed info on test procedures and home testing options, click here.   

Chennai

Chennai’s quarantine protocols mandate all arriving international travelers to serve a 14-day quarantine, a mix of 7 days in an institution and the rest at home.

For passengers coming from Kerala and Maharashtra, only symptomatic passengers will be tested for COVID. 7 days of home quarantine and 7 days of self-monitoring are mandatory for all passengers arriving into Tamil Nadu from Maharashtra & Kerala. All other passengers arriving in Tamil Nadu from other Indian states/UT must self-monitor for 14 days.

Available types of COVID-19 test, include the RT-PCR test, TruNat, and CB-NAAT test. RT-PCR testing costs around INR 1,200.

You can find the official list of available testing laboratories in Chennai here.

Delhi

Delhi’s quarantine protocols mandate all arriving international travelers (except government and constitutional officials) to serve institutional quarantine. 

All domestic passengers will be thermally screened, and those coming from hotspot states will be tested at random. Passengers who are found positive will be quarantined at home or CCC/CHC/Hospital for 10 days. Asymptomatic and negative passengers will also have to undergo 7 days of home quarantine.

Available types of COVID-19 test, include the RT-PCR test, Rapid Antibody test, TruNat, and Rapid Antigen test.  RT-PCRs cost INR 800, the home collection comes at INR 1,200.

You can find the official list of available testing laboratories in Delhi here. For detailed info on test procedures and home testing options, click here.

Hyderabad

Hyderabad’s quarantine protocols mandate all arriving international travelers without negative RT-PCR test reports to serve institutional quarantine. Domestic travelers will be screened upon arrival. All passengers are required to register themselves on the Spandana website www.spandana.ap.gov.in.

Available types of COVID-19 test, include the RT-PCR test, Rapid Antibody test, TruNat, Rapid Antigen test, and CB-NAAT test. Cost varies from free of charge to INR 1,500 depending on the type of test and choice of facility. Expect to pay around INR 850 as it is the new cap rate in Hyderabad. For home collection, it is INR 1,200. The testing of the sample is free at government laboratories.

You can find the official list of available testing laboratories in Hyderabad here. For detailed info on test procedures and home testing options, click here.  

Kolkata

It is mandatory for passengers coming from Kerala, Maharashtra, Karnataka, and Telangana to produce a COVID-19 negative certificate not taken more than 72 hours before arrival at the Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose International Airport, Kolkata. Transit passengers and children below 2 years of age are exempted from testing requirements. Asymptomatic passengers will be advised to self-monitor for 14 days while the quarantine requirements of symptomatic passengers will be decided on a case-to-case basis.

Available types of COVID-19 test, include the RT-PCR test, Rapid Antibody test, TruNat, Rapid Antigen test, and CB-NAAT test. RT-PCR test prices have been capped at INR 950.  

Find the list of available testing laboratories and home testing options along with their opening hours, testing procedure, and delivery of results here.

Lucknow

The city of Lucknow is also covered by the State of Uttar Pradesh’s quarantine protocols which mandate all arriving international travelers to serve a 7 to 14-day institutional quarantine.

Domestic travellers have to undergo 14 days of home quarantine and those from Kerala and Maharashtra will also need to submit a negative COVID test report.

Available types of COVID-19 test, include the RT-PCR test, Rapid Antibody test, TruNat and CB-NAAT test. RT-PCR tests cost INR 500.

You can find the official list of available testing laboratories in Lucknow here.  

Mumbai

Mumbai’s quarantine protocols mandate all arriving international travelers to undergo a 14-day self-monitoring period. Travellers will not be subjected to COVID testing at the airport. 

Passengers arriving from NCR/DELHI, Kerala, Rajasthan, Gujarat & Goa must carry RT-PCR report not earlier than 72 hours. There is no quarantine or hand stamping for asymptomatic domestic passengers.

Any passenger not having an RT-PCR report must undergo an RT-PCR test at the airport at their own expense. The price of the test at the airport has been slashed to INR 500.

Available types of COVID-19 test, include the RT-PCR test, TruNat, and CB-NAAT test. Recently, the prices of RT-PCR tests have been slashed to INR 500 at the collection centre, INR 600 at a COVID Care Centre or a quarantine centre, and INR 800 for home collections.

You can find the official list of available testing laboratories in Mumbai here.

Noida

The city of Noida is covered by the State of Uttar Pradesh’s quarantine protocols which mandate all arriving international travelers to serve a 7 to 14-day institutional quarantine.

Domestic travellers have to undergo 14 days of home quarantine and those from Kerala and Maharashtra will also need to submit a negative COVID test report.

Available types of COVID-19 test, include the RT-PCR test, Rapid Antibody test, TruNat, and CB-NAAT test. RT-PCR tests cost INR 500.

You can find the official list of available testing laboratories in Noida here. 

Patna

The city of Patna is covered by the State of Bihar’s quarantine protocols. Apart from thermal screenings being conducted at airports, passengers arriving from Maharashtra, Kerala, and Punjab will require RT-PCR/RAT test results taken within the last 72 hours. The quarantine will depend on the test results.

Available types of COVID-19 test, include the RT-PCR test, TruNat, and CB-NAAT test. The Bihar government has capped the RT-PCR tests at INR 800.

You can find the official list of available testing laboratories in Patna here. 

Pune

Pune’s protocols mandate all arriving domestic arrivals from NCR/DELHI, Kerala, Rajasthan, Gujarat & Goa to o carry RT-PCR reports not earlier than 72 hours. Passengers not having RT-PCR reports must undergo tests at the airport at their own expense. No quarantine & hand stamping for asymptomatic passengers. 

Available types of COVID-19 test, include the RT-PCR test, Rapid Antibody test, TruNat, Rapid Antigen test, and CB-NAAT test. Cost varies depending on the type of test and choice of facility. Recently, the prices of RT-PCR tests have been slashed to INR 500 at the collection centre, INR 600 at a COVID Care Centre or a quarantine centre, and INR 800 for home collections.

Find the list of available testing laboratories and home testing options along with their opening hours, testing procedure, and results delivery here.