A COVID-19 asymptomatic testing centre is to open in Johnstone with the capacity to test up to 12,000 people over the course of a week.

Health Secretary Jeane Freeman made the announcement about the pilot testing scheme, today, in Parliament.

Renfrewshire has one of the highest new cases per 100,000 of any local authority in Scotland and as many as 12,000 people could be tested for coronavirus next week in the first large-scale rapid community testing pilot in Scotland.

This trial will utilise a mixture of existing and new testing technology and the results of these pilots will inform plans for a wider programme of targeted community testing in early 2021.

A lateral flow test should deliver the results within 30 minutes and will take place at Johnstone Town Hall.

Jeane Freeman said: “Next week we will be deploying up to six mobile testing units and 20,000 home test kits to support work in five local authority areas – Glasgow, Renfrewshire, East and South Ayrshire and Clackmannanshire.

“We will also set up an asympomatic test site using lateral flow testing in Johnstone in Renfrewshire, which has one of the highest new cases per 100,000 of any local authority in Scotland.

“This centre will have capacity to test up to 12,000 people over the course of the week and we are actively planning targeted deployment for early January including further asymptomatic test sites.

New testing approach set out for health and social care sector and communities.

The Health Secretary Jeane Freeman also set out a new testing approach for health and social care sector and communities in Level 4 areas.

From next week, all emergency admissions will be tested for COVID, and twice-weekly lateral flow testing will be introduced for all patient-facing healthcare staff working in hospitals, COVID-19 Assessment Centres and the Scottish Ambulance Service. Testing will be introduced for all elective admissions to hospital from mid-December.

In the social care sector, testing will be expanded over the coming months for designated visitors, visiting professional staff, and care at home workers. Visitor testing will be initially introduced in up to 12 care homes across four local authority areas from 7th December, with full roll-out planned for January.

To facilitate Christmas visiting in all care homes, PCR testing will be provided for those that do not have access to lateral flow testing by that time, with guidance on visiting arrangements over Christmas to be published shortly. Testing for the other two social care groups will also commence in January.

December will also see the start of a testing programme for students before they return home for Christmas, and targeted geographic testing trialled in communities covered by NHS Ayrshire and Arran, Forth Valley, and Greater Glasgow and Clyde, which are currently under Level 4 restrictions.