First of 11 planned walk-through sites set up.
People who suspect they may have coronavirus (COVID-19) will be able to receive a test at a walk-through testing centre.
The clinically-approved and risk-assessed model means people can access testing in semi-permanent centres, both indoor and outdoor, just days after a site has been agreed.
Work has begun to set up the first of eleven sites planned to be up and running before winter.
Appointments will be available through NHS Inform to students and the wider community for the first of these, to be housed in the Victory Memorial Hall in St Andrews. Testing is expected to commence at this site in the coming days.
Consideration of location of the further 10 sites which will be easily accessible by bike, wheel or foot is underway including in the Highlands, Glasgow and Edinburgh.
Health Secretary Jeane Freeman said:
“Containing and suppressing this virus relies on testing being accessible to everyone. These walk through testing centres will further increase Scotland’s testing capacity ahead of potential spikes as we move into winter.
“They can be operational in a matter of days, and we are working at pace with NHS National Services Scotland and local authorities to roll out more across the country so that more people have access to local testing.
“We will continue to adapt our testing strategy in line with the different stages of the pandemic. However, testing is only one effective intervention that we are using to manage the virus and it remains vital that people continue to follow physical distancing advice and practise good hand and cough hygiene not just for their own safety but in order to protect others.”
NHS Fife Deputy Director of Public Health Dr Esther Curnock said:
“The new walk-in testing site in St Andrews is an important resource for the local population and will play a vital role in helping to limit the spread of the virus in north-east Fife.
“With the prevalence of COVID-19 now much lower than it was at its peak, it is easy to think that the virus in no longer a risk to our health, however, that is far from the case.
“It is crucial, therefore, that people arrange to be tested as soon as any symptoms develop, such as a new continuous cough, a fever, or a loss or change in the sense smell or taste, and isolate immediately rather than waiting on the result of their test.”
Scotland’s COVID-19 Testing Strategy.
Professor Sally Mapstone, Principal of the University of St Andrews, said:
“We’ve been in discussions for some time with the Scottish Government and NHS Fife about local testing facilities, and this is a positive and prudent development.
“The new testing centre will support the many steps the University is taking to keep our staff, students and local community safe, including our own Covid Rapid Response Service which will support quarantining and contact tracing, and monitor adherence to public health guidelines.”
Co-Leader of Fife Council Cllr David Alexander said:
“We are delighted to have been involved in getting one of Scotland’s first walk-in test centres up and running in St Andrews. With a high student population, a huge turnover of tourists and a centre of hospitality, St Andrews seemed to be an obvious choice for a test centre like this.”
Co-Leader of Fife Council Cllr. David Ross added: “These facilities are accessible for everyone in the area and will provide an invaluable resource in the fight against the spread of Covid-19 in our communities.”