New coronavirus walk-through test centre opens in Edinburgh

The appointment-only centre at Leith Library becomes the city’s third testing site.

New coronavirus walk-through test centre opens in Edinburgh Getty Images
Similar walk-through centre At Glasgow Caledonian University (GCU) campus.

A new walk-through coronavirus testing centre for people with symptoms has been opened in Leith.

The appointment-only centre at Leith Library becomes Edinburgh’s third testing site and the 12th across Scotland.

Residents displaying symptoms of Covid-19, such as a continuous cough, fever or a loss of taste or smell, are able to book a test at the new site, which is open from 8am to 8pm.

Patients will be asked to take a swab of their nose and the back of their throat to test for the virus, with staff support available for vulnerable individuals and people with disabilities.

Anyone who tests positive should be contacted to help identify close contact and protect others from further transmission.

The UK Government-run facility has capacity for 300 tests a day, the same number as the capital’s other testing centres at the Usher Hall and the Gate 55 Community Hub in Wester Hailes.

A total of 22 test centres are ultimately planned throughout Scotland, with sites already open in St Andrews, Aberdeen, West Dunbartonshire, Stirling, Dundee, Inverclyde, Inverness, and two in Glasgow.

The UK Government’s Scotland minister Iain Stewart said: “The UK Government is helping all parts of the UK fight the coronavirus pandemic and this new walk-through testing centre in Edinburgh will make it easier for people to get tested.

“Testing is vital, helping to manage local outbreaks and protecting people’s livelihoods.

“The UK Government is providing the bulk of Covid testing in Scotland, and this new walk-through centre is just the latest in our extensive testing network.”

The Scottish Government’s Health Secretary Jeane Freeman said: “Containing and suppressing this virus relies on testing being accessible to everyone.

“The walk-through testing centre in Leith is the 12th site across Scotland and will further increase our testing capacity ahead of potential spikes as we move through winter.

“Centres like this 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.”

Edinburgh council leader Adam McVey said: “Our top priority is keeping Edinburgh’s residents safe and the best way to do that is by encouraging people to follow the latest guidance and get tested if they have any Covid-19 symptoms.

“Our two other sites in the city centre and west Edinburgh have been helping hundreds of people every week to get tested so it’s really welcome that we now have a third site open in the north of the city.

“We’ll keep the use of Leith Library under review and if we’re in a position to safely reopen the library in the New Year we’ll work with the Government to find alternatives.”

Judith Proctor from the Edinburgh Health and Social Care Partnership added: “Across Edinburgh, testing continues to play a key role in our efforts to contain and mitigate the Covid-19 pandemic and I am delighted that a new walk-through test centre is opening in the capital.

“Getting a test is easy and quick; and if you start to develop symptoms, booking a test and isolating until you have the results is imperative.

“This will help to limit the spread of the virus to your family and others in our community, and the results of the test can also help your healthcare provider make informed decisions about your care.”

Tests are able to be booked by visiting www.nhsinform.scot/test-and-protect or by calling 0800 028 2816.

Anyone attending an appointment will be provided with guidance on getting to and from the centre safely, including wearing face coverings to and from their test and instructions not to use taxis or public transport.