A new walk-in coronavirus testing centre has opened in Stirling where symptomatic patients can take a self-administered Covid-19 test.
Only people experiencing coronavirus symptoms – such as a new and continuous cough, a fever or a loss of taste or smell – should book a test, the Government has said.
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.
Based at The Engine Shed in central Stirling, the new test site has been set up by the UK Government and is run by private firm Mitie.
Test samples are analysed at the Glasgow Lighthouse Lab and patients with Covid-19 will be contacted by NHS Scotland tracers.
The centre will operate seven days a week, with appointments available from 8am until 8pm for people suffering from coronavirus symptoms.
Appointments must be made in advance on www.nhsinform.scot/test-and-protect or by calling 0800 028 2816.
People travelling to and from the test centre are told not to use taxis or public transport and should wear a face covering at the site.
The Stirling site becomes the seventh walk-in test centre across Scotland, alongside the six drive-through facilities, 21 mobile units and the testing carried out through the NHS Scotland system.
Scotland’s other walk-in centres are currently located at St Andrews, Edinburgh, Aberdeen, West Dunbartonshire and two sites in Glasgow.
New walk-in test centres are planned for Edinburgh West, Dundee, Inverness and Port Glasgow.
Dr Jennifer Champion, a consultant in public health medicine at NHS Forth Valley, said: “This new walk-through testing centre in Stirling, along with the existing mobile units, will improve access to testing within the Forth Valley area and make it easier for local people to get tested if they develop any symptoms.
“We know cases of Covid-19 are rising so it’s really important that everyone continues to be vigilant and arrange a test if they develop any symptoms.
“Everyone has a part to play in helping to stop the spread of this virus.
“Physical distancing, wearing face coverings, reducing the number of people you socialise with and the number of places you visit will reduce the risk and make it easier for our Test and Protect team to identify any close contacts if you do test positive.”
Scotland minister Iain Stewart thanked those involved in setting up and running the site and said: “The UK Government is helping all parts of the UK fight the coronavirus pandemic.
“Testing is vital, helping to manage local outbreaks and protecting people’s livelihoods.
“The UK Government is providing the bulk of Covid-19 testing in Scotland, and this new walk-through centre in Stirling is just the latest in our extensive testing network.”
The interim executive chairwoman of the National Institute for Health Protection, Baroness Dido Harding, said: “The UK Government’s new walk-through sites offer communities better access to coronavirus testing, so everyone with symptoms can get a test.
“This new site is part of our ongoing work to expand testing across the UK to deliver 500,000 tests a day by the end of October.”
She urged anyone who is contacted to follow the advice they are given, adding: “This is the only way we can return to a more normal way of life.”
Health minister Lord Bethell said the new site is part of a testing network that was “growing all the time”.
He said: “We continue to expand UK Government testing to make sure that everyone with symptoms can get a test, with our new walk-in sites making it even easier no matter where you live.
“If you have symptoms of coronavirus, I urge you to book a test today, and follow the advice of contact tracers if you are contacted to protect others around you and stop the spread of the virus.”
Mitie’s chief government and strategy officer, Simon Venn, said: “Our priority during the pandemic is to support the nation’s efforts to fight Covid-19 and help keep the country running.
“Testing is a critical part of the UK’s strategy to combat coronavirus and we’re proud to support the UK Government with this vital task.
“A big thank you to all the NHS staff, Mitie employees and other frontline heroes in Stirling, who are working tirelessly to keep us all safe.”