Key workers will be able to get tested for coronavirus at the new testing centre at Edinburgh Airport.
In common with those already in place in England this will be a drive-through testing facility.
It is part of the Government’s UK-wide drive to increase coronavirus testing for thousands of NHS and other key workers.
There is a rapidly expanding network of testing sites being set up around the UK, and Edinburgh Airport is the latest. It will work on an appointment-only basis for NHS staff and other key workers. There will of course be a pilot operation for the first few days to try it out.
The Government has partnered with universities, research institutes and companies to begin the rollout of the network of new ‘lighthouse’ labs and field testing sites across the UK, with 27 testing sites opened to date.
This network will provide thousands of people with PCR swab tests – which are used to identify if you currently have the virus – for critical key workers, starting with NHS front line staff. This means those who test negative for coronavirus can then return to work as soon as possible, and those who test positive are able to recover.
The Edinburgh Airport testing centre is being operated in partnership with Sodexo, and Boots medical staff administer some of the tests with others which are self-administered. Those tested will receive their results within 48 hours.
Health Minister, Lord Bethell, said:“The UK Government is rapidly scaling up the national effort to boost testing capacity for coronavirus to protect the vulnerable, support our NHS, and ultimately save lives.
“This new service will help end the uncertainty of whether NHS and social care staff need to stay at home meaning those who test negative will be able to return to work.
“This is a national effort and we are proud to be working with a number of partners to turn this ambition into a reality and roll out additional capacity to where it is needed.”
Scottish Secretary Alister Jack said:“This new testing centre at Edinburgh Airport, which is funded by the UK Government, will help key workers continue to do their lifesaving work and look after those who need it most.
“The UK Government has committed to expand our testing capacity right across the UK and this new centre is now one of three in Scotland. We will continue to work for everyone in the UK to save lives and protect our NHS.”
Professor John Newton, National Coordinator for the UK Coronavirus Testing Strategy, said: “New testing sites such as this one are a key pillar of our 5-pillar plan to scale up testing, and are critical in supporting NHS staff who are isolating at home to return safely to work if the test is negative.”
“This is a brilliant example of industries and businesses turning their resources to creating and rolling out mass testing at scale, which will help to deliver on our aim of carrying out 100,000 tests a day across the UK by the end of the month.”
A Boots UK Spokesperson said:“We feel incredibly proud to be supporting COVID-19 testing for critical workers in Edinburgh.”
“Boots has been at the heart of UK healthcare for 171 years and has always come forward to support the community in times of need. Our team in Edinburgh is no exception. Some of our colleagues have already stepped forward to volunteer to run this COVID-19 testing station, which will start testing its first critical workers today.”
Sean Haley, regional chair of Sodexo UK & Ireland said:“Sodexo teams have moved quickly to set up COVID-19 testing centres as part of the industry-wide effort to tackle the COVID-19 pandemic. The opening of the Edinburgh Airport testing site will mean more frontline NHS and other staff can be tested and cleared to provide care to those who need it most.”
“I am proud of our colleagues who are working together with pace and dedication to support the NHS.”
Gordon Dewar, Chief Executive of Edinburgh Airport said:“We understand that the coronavirus pandemic is a national issue that requires a national response, and we realise we have a role to play by offering up space that can be utilised for crucial testing.“
The Government is also urgently working on setting up a home-testing service for critical key workers, supported by Amazon’s logistics network and other commercial partners.
Scottish Liberal Democrat health spokesperson and Edinburgh Western MSP Alex Cole-Hamilton said:”The opening of the Edinburgh Airport testing centre will mean more NHS workers and other staff can be tested, enabling them to get back to work and support those who need it most.
“I’m delighted that Edinburgh Airport have been able to support this initiative and I hope that these efforts can be rapidly scaled up to test as many of those who need it as possible.
“Throughout all of this I have been blown away by the commitment and dedication of everyone in our NHS to giving everyone the highest possible standard of care.”