Asymptomatic testing to be carried out 'much more routinely' in Scotland, says Nicola Sturgeon

30 November 2020, 14:52 | Updated: 4 December 2020, 14:23

A Covid-19 testing centre in Scotland
A Covid-19 testing centre in Scotland. Picture: PA

By Patrick Grafton-Green

Asymptomatic testing will be carried out "much more routinely" in Scotland in the new year, Nicola Sturgeon has said.

The First Minister said asymptomatic testing is currently being offered in coronavirus hotspots where levels of Covid-19 "continue to be of concern and are higher than the national average".

This is part of a mass testing scheme being piloted in five locations in west and central Scotland.

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Ms Sturgeon encouraged people living in these areas to come forward for a test, saying they would be "helping that collective effort to try to break the chains of transmission".

Speaking at the Scottish Government's coronavirus briefing on Monday, she added: "The lessons that we learn from these trials will then inform our plans to expand community testing much more extensively and much more routinely early in the new year."

Scotland's First Minister Nicola Sturgeon
Scotland's First Minister Nicola Sturgeon. Picture: Getty

She said: "Our mobile testing unit opened in Clackmannanshire in Alloa Town Hall on Thursday.

"Further sites have opened today in Dalmarnock, in the east end of Glasgow, in the south side of Glasgow, in Stewarton in East Ayrshire and Girvan in South Ayrshire.

"We'll also open the first site using lateral flow tests in Johnstone in Renfrewshire on Wednesday of this week.

"The lateral flow tests produce much more quickly than the conventional PCR test. That potentially makes them very useful."

Speaking after confirming Scotland recorded three deaths of coronavirus patients and 369 positive cases in the past 24 hours, the First Minister continued: "We do hope that identifying more people who are positive will help us ensure that they are not spreading the virus and that's why we are currently focusing these trials – these pilot programmes – on areas with high prevalence.

"So if you live in one of these areas, I would encourage you to come forward for testing.

"You give yourself the chance of finding out if you have the virus if you don't yet have symptoms but you're also helping that collective effort to try to break the chains of transmission."

Giving a further update on the daily coronavirus figures, Ms Sturgeon said had been a "technical issue" with the reporting systems overnight meaning the figures reported may be "slightly lower" than expected.

The First Minister said the daily test positivity rate is 6.1 per cent, up from 5.2 per cent on Sunday.

Of the new cases, 133 are in Greater Glasgow and Clyde, 49 in Lanarkshire and 48 in Lothian.

There are 1,041 people in hospital confirmed to have the virus, a fall of eight in 24 hours. Of these patients, 75 are in intensive care, down by one.