I have to rub my tonsils with a cotton bud swab for 10 seconds, without touching my teeth or tongue (not easy, it’s like the board game Operation), then stick the same stick up my nose as far as it will go. I’d read that if the nasal swab is done properly, it’ll feel like “tickling your brain”. It’s not quite that bad, but it’s not comfortable.
I then place the swab into a sealed bag and security-sealed box that says “Biological Substance Category B”, and post it into a special Priority Postbox that the Royal Mail has introduced all over the UK, ready for home tests. A few days later, I get a text on my phone telling me my coronavirus test result is negative.
When taking the swabs, I also fill out a questionnaire that quizzes me about my behaviour in the previous week. “Have I been on public transport?” “How many people outside my household did I spend more than five hours with?”
I will repeat this routine once a week for at least four months, as well as returning to the hospital regularly for blood tests over the next year.