A drive-through coronavirus testing centre will be launched in the grounds of Perth College.
The campus facility is part of the UK Government’s national push to increase testing for thousands more key workers.
It will be one of five testing sites in Scotland, and the only one of its kind in Tayside and Fife.
Health Minister Lord Bethell said the Perth project will open for appointments later this week, taking a step towards the UK’s target of 100,000 tests a day by the end of this month.
“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,” he said.
“This new service will help end the uncertainty of whether NHS and social care staff and other key workers need to stay at home, meaning those who test negative will be able to return to work.”
He added: “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.”
The new units, which are also being established at Aberdeen, Edinburgh, Inverness and Glasgow, will offer PCR swab tests to critical key workers, starting with NHS staff on the frontline.
Professor John Newton, national coordinator for the UK Covid-19 testing strategy, added: “New testing sites such as this one are a key pillar of our five-pillar plan to scale up testing, and are critical in supporting NHS staff and other frontline workers who are isolating at home to return safely to work if the test is negative.”
He said: “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.”
The Perth centre will be operated in partnership with facilities management firm Mitie and those tested should get their results back within days.
Scotland Office minister Douglas Ross said: “This new UK Government-funded testing centre in Perth will help key workers in the area continue their vital work, helping those to look after those who need it most.”
Perth College Principal Margaret Cook added: “We are pleased to host this Covid-19 test centre at our Crieff Road campus. Many of our students and staff are undertaking key worker roles at this time and it’s great to see an increase in testing being implemented to support this group continue their excellent work to fight this pandemic.”
The UK Government is opening 36 regional test sites across Britain, as well as 16 satellite sites for NHS trusts in England.
Simon Venn, Chief Government and Strategy Officer at Mitie added: “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 government with this vital task.”
He said: “It is a perfect example of a seamless collaboration between the public and private sector and it exemplifies the amazing things that can be achieved as a result. A big thank you to all the Mitie employees and other frontline heroes who are working tirelessly to keep us all safe.”
A home-testing service for critical workers is also being set up by the UK Government, with support from Amazon.
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