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18/05/20 16:26

Expansion of COVID-19 testing

Everyone over the age of five with symptoms eligible to be tested.

Testing for coronavirus (COVID-19) is to be opened out to everyone who is symptomatic over the age of five.

This means anyone who is displaying any of the three symptoms of COVID-19 – continuous cough, high temperature, or loss of sense of taste or smell – will be able to book a test at the drive-through or mobile test centres.

A limited number of home test kits are also available through this programme.

Tests were previously available to over-65s, key workers and to anyone who needs to work and cannot do so from home. They were also available to household members of those groups.

The extension in testing eligibility comes ahead of the rollout of the new Test, Trace, Isolate and Support (TTIS) approach which will be used to keep transmission in communities low as the country moves out of lockdown.

The extension is a four nation, UK-wide expansion of testing.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said:

“This further expansion of testing will ensure that anyone with symptoms will be able to find out if they have COVID-19, and will therefore be able to know whether or not they should be isolating.

“As well as allowing more people to have a case of COVID-19 confirmed, today’s expansion will also be helpful as we build towards our strategy of test, trace, isolate and support – something that will be especially important as we start to emerge gradually from lockdown.

“This is vital in order to keep transmission in communities low.”

Background

Tests can be booked online: www.nhs.uk/coronavirus

For those unable to access the portal, call 0300 303 2713.

The tests are available through drive-through centres at Aberdeen, Edinburgh or Glasgow airports, and in Perth and Inverness.

They are also available through the 12 mobile testing units across the country, which move every five days or so. If you book a test you will be offered a test at the centre closest to your own postcode.  

Home test kits are also an option for people who can’t get to one of the test sites.

Clinical advice is that under-5s are less likely to be affected by COVID-19 and the tests can be distressing for young children. However if you are concerned about a child who is showing symptoms, telephone 111 to speak to NHS 24.

More information on symptoms:  https://www.gov.scot/news/update-to-coronavirus-symptoms

More information on symptoms at NHS Inform: https://www.nhsinform.scot/illnesses-and-conditions/infections-and-poisoning/coronavirus-covid-19

Priority will continue to be given to those who are key workers, and can be secured by booking through an employer.

Test, Trace, Isolate, Support is a public health intervention to identify cases of COVID-19, find the people they have been in close contact with, and then ask those close-contacts to self-isolate for 14 days to reduce the risk of the disease spreading.