Two Scottish testing facilities for 'likely' cases of deadly coronavirus set up

The Scottish Government have confirmed they are establishing testing facilities for possible cases of novel coronavirus as a fourth person in the UK tested positive.

Two Scottish facilities for testing of novel coronavirus established
Two Scottish facilities for testing of novel coronavirus established

From today two laboratories, one in Edinburgh and the other in Glasgow will begin to process all tests from Scotland.

The new Scottish facilities mean negative test results can be returned quicker as previously all samples have been sent to London for testing.

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The move comes as another person has tested positive for coronavirus in England, bringing the total number of cases in the UK to four.

The latest patient diagnosed had come into contact with a previously confirmed UK case and is being treated at the Royal Free Hospital in London, chief medical officer for England Professor Chris Whitty said.

The new case comes after another plane carrying British citizens evacuated from the coronavirus-hit city of Wuhan landed in Oxfordshire.The flight, with more than 200 people on board, including some foreign nationals, arrived at RAF Brize Norton shortly before 7.30am on Sunday.

She said: “Ever since the beginning of this global outbreak we have been working hard to develop a testing facility within Scotland.

"I am pleased that we will now have two Scottish facilities, greatly reducing the time it takes to confirm negative results.

“Although all Scottish tests have so far been negative, we are prepared for the high likelihood that we will also see a positive case in Scotland.

“Our NHS is well equipped to deal with infections of this kind. We have a proven track record of dealing with challenging health issues, and have been preparing for this possibility since the beginning of the outbreak.”

The plan is for existing NHS laboratories based at Glasgow Royal Infirmary and Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh are being equipped with the technology to test for novel coronavirus.

Should a test result come back positive, the sample will be sent to Public Health England’s Colindale laboratory in London for a confirmatory test.

Under the terms of International Health Regulations, high consequence infectious diseases like novel coronavirus are reportable to the World Health Organisation (WHO).Positive tests from new testing centres across the UK are in the process of continuous validation and this requires additional confirmatory testing to be undertaken in the WHO designated testing centre at Colindale.

The latest numbers of test results are published at 2pm each day on the Scottish Government website.

READ MORE: Conservative shadow health secretary Miles Briggs MSP said: “Given the likelihood of a positive test in Scotland for the Coronavirus, it’s only right that these facilities are set up.

“Many Scots will undoubtedly be concerned about the spread of the virus, so it’s important that the Scottish Government does all it can to combat it.

“Being able to process tests quickly and efficiently is a huge part of this, and setting up these two laboratories will undoubtedly help.”