Everyone living in Scotland has been promised access to free and fast Covid-19 tests as part of a plan to help the country gradually return to normal and keep the coronavirus at bay.
The offer of access to free ‘lateral flow’ test kits is being made available to anyone regardless of whether they have experienced Covid symptoms or not.
The test kits are designed to be taken at home and can now be picked up without appointment from local walk-in or drive through test sites in various parts of Scotland.
People are being advised to order their tests online or by phone, with the goal of making home test kits readily available being to catch more positive cases quickly so that people can self-isolate and avoid spreading the virus on to others.
Anyone who takes a lateral flow test and gets a positive result is being told by the Scottish government that they need to stay home and self-isolate and should claim a £500 low-income grant to cover the costs involved if they need to.
The lateral flow tests are designed to give results within half an hour but anyone who gets a positive result should immediately order a PCR test to confirm that positive result.
It is hoped that making test kits freely available will encourage more people to use them in advance of taking a trip from one part of the country to another or to one of the Scottish islands.
There is more information available on how best to access a free Covid test on a dedicated coronavirus website created by the Scottish government.
Anyone who gets a negative result after they’ve taken a lateral flow test should still continue to adhere to the various Covid-related protocols and restrictions in place across Scotland, the government has made clear.
“Rapid lateral flow testing is already helping us to find cases that might otherwise have been missed, as around 1 in 3 people with Covid-19 do not show symptoms,” explained Dr Gregor Smith, chief medical officer.
“It may be tempting to think as vaccinations increase and cases drop, that testing will become less important. In fact, this will only make it more important to spot and prevent new outbreaks as cases emerge.
“We know from our experience of last summer just how quickly one outbreak can lead to another.”
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