Asymptomatic testing is to be rolled out at pop-up sites in Scotland’s biggest city to identify more cases of Covid-19.
The programme, funded by the Scottish Government, will offer testing to people in Glasgow without Covid-19 symptoms in a bid to identify those who may be infectious and spreading the virus without knowing it.
New walk-in test centres staffed by armed forces personnel will be located at Glasgow Central Mosque and at Govanhill Neighbourhood Centre and will operate for several weeks.
People living in surrounding communities who do not have Covid-19 symptoms are encouraged to come forward for the lateral flow tests from March 1.
Dr Linda de Caestecker, public health director for NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde (NHSGGC), said: “We know that Covid-19 is often spread by people who don’t have symptoms or they are so mild they do not recognise they have the infection.
“Asymptomatic testing enables identification of infection so that people are not spreading the infection to their families, work colleagues or the wider community as they go shopping or exercising. This has the potential to reduce spread overall.
“That means we will be more likely to be able to reduce restrictions more quickly. Asymptomatic testing will also help us learn about the rate of infection in people not showing signs of the virus. Please come forward for testing to help to reduce transmission of the virus in this area.
“The centres will also give advice about support for isolation for people with a positive test.”
Swabs from lateral flow tests do not need to be sent to labs for analysis and the results should be known within an hour.
Similar test facilities will be set up in other Glasgow neighbourhoods in coming weeks.
Waste water tests and the most up-to-date data will be used to identify communities where asymptomatic testing is needed.
NHSGGC said additional mobile testing will also be undertaken as a rapid response to any outbreaks.
Glasgow City Council leader Susan Aitken said: “I would encourage people not displaying Covid-19 symptoms to volunteer for a test where asymptomatic testing centres have been set up in their local area.
“The test results will help to detect the virus and limit its spread in our communities.”
Authorities are also urging people to continue to follow measures including physical distancing, using face coverings and hand-washing to help reduce the risk of spreading the virus.
Public health minister Mairi Gougeon said: “Targeted testing in this way will help us find and isolate more cases by targeting resources with communities where there is high prevalence, helping us to identify more cases of the virus and giving us all a better chance of stopping it from spreading.
“However, a test only tells us if we are positive at the point in time that we are being tested. It does not mean that we can stop following all of the rules and guidelines which are in place to protect all of us.
“Testing is only one layer of protection against this virus – all others, including vaccination and the Facts guidance, work to greatest effect when they work together, so it is essential people continue to follow the restrictions currently in place to suppress Covid to the lowest possible level in Scotland.”
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