Explained: Who can access coronavirus tests and how

Drive-through sites and home testing kits are available to key workers and their family.

Explained: Who can access coronavirus tests and how SNS
Coronavirus: Testing sites have been set up throughout the country.

A number of facilities for testing key workers and their households for Covid-19 have been set up across Scotland.

Drive-through sites have been funded by the UK Government, while the Scottish Government has been working with the NHS to test the highest priority cases.

Testing under the UK programme is carried out at Glasgow Airport, Edinburgh Airport, Aberdeen Airport as well as the University of the Highlands and Islands campus in Inverness.

These centres can be accessed by those who live within a 90-minute drive.

Another is due to open in Perth later this week and a limited number of home test kits are also available.

The military is also providing 13 pop-up mobile testing sites north of the border.

A “prioritisation matrix” of essential workers who can access testing has been set out by the Scottish Government. 

These are contained within four groups:

  • Priority Group 1: Health and social care workers; and staff working in residential institutions and essential roles where service resilience is at risk.
  • Priority Group 2: Essential workers in critical national infrastructure fundamental for safety and security, and lifeline services.
  • Priority Group 3: Staff directly involved in delivering other essential services.
  • Priority Group 4: Staff involved in volunteering, or in nationally or locally significant industry important to economic sustainability and growth.

Testing will be done if a key worker or a member of their family is symptomatic.

These people can refer themselves for a test using the UK Government portal.

Employers who wish to help their staff through the process can also register through a separate system by emailing portalservicedesk@dhsc.gov.uk.

Tests should be carried out in the first three days of coronavirus symptoms appearing, although testing is considered effective up until the fifth day.

Anything after this cut-off will not be accepted unless for a specific reason.

The Scottish Government said key workers in the NHS and care sector – those in Priority Group 1 – should access tests primarily through existing NHS capacity.

However, the self-employed should access testing through the UK programme employee portal.

Anyone who is aged over 70 and admitted to hospital will be checked for coronavirus, whether or not they have symptoms.

Patients discharged to a care home have to get two negative results before leaving.

All new residents to care homes will be tested for Covid-19 by the NHS and Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said further steps for these premises as well as others will be set out in the coming days.

A new “megalab” in Glasgow, operated by the University of Glasgow, is now mass processing Covid-19 tests for key workers.

Scottish secretary Alister Jack said:  “The UK Government is delivering on its promise to ramp up testing capacity right across the UK.

“Here in Scotland, we are providing a network of drive-through testing sites and military-run mobile testing units, as well as the mega-lab that opened last week in Glasgow.

“By getting Scottish key workers tested we can ensure they can continue in their jobs to help those that need it the most.”