Nicola Sturgeon has said she is hopeful that a coronavirus testing delay that has affected 30,000 swabs will be resolved shortly.
The first minister was challenged on the issue after it was revealed that one fifth of Scotland’s Covid-19 tests were unaccounted for, raising fears that there are thousands more cases than currently reported.
At her daily coronavirus briefing, Ms Sturgeon admitted the problem had “been an issue”, but was “well on its way” to being resolved.
Earlier the Scottish Government had been urged to “get a grip” on the situation after it emerged the 30,000 swabs, taken since mid-April, are still being processed in a “data exchange” between the UK Government and Scottish Government.
The revelation raised suspicions that the confirmed figure of 14,17 positive tests is likely to be significantly higher.
I am told this process will be complete and this will not be an issue in a matter of days.”
The tests have been carried out by Scotland’s drive-through and mobile Regional Testing Centres (RTC), run by the UK Government’s Department of Health & Social Care.
Ms Sturgeon said: “The tests coming through the UK-wide system, which is the drive through centres and the lab at Glasgow University, we had a slight delay in getting the results. The people being tested were getting the results, but the government had a slight delay.
“We are now getting that. But there is a process of verification that has to be done to establish the positive/negative breakdown of that. Now that is being done right now. I am told this process will be complete and this will not be an issue in a matter of days.”
Ms Sturgeon added that the delay would not have an impact on easing lockdown.
Labour’s health spokeswoman Monica Lennon said the situation was “disturbing”.
“We already knew that Scotland was lagging behind badly in the time taken to turn around these tests. For test results to be unavailable after almost a month has led to under-reporting. This process is unfit for purpose,” Ms Lennon said.
Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie said: “People are increasingly anxious as to whether the Scottish Government will be able to get to the capacity we need on testing and tracking.
“Every day it does not fully use the testing capacity it has available and now we discover thousands of tests are missing. The government must explain what has happened and whether they will get up to the capacity we need for when we need it.”
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