Nicola Sturgeon to reveal plan to increase coronavirus testing in Scotland

Nicola Sturgeon is set to outline plans to increase testing for Covid-19 - and she will insist that Scotland has already successfully increased testing capacity.

However, the First Minister will say a new effort is needed to get the country ready for the next phase in tackling the pandemic.

Matt Hancock, the UK Health Secretary, is also due to announce whether his coronavirus test pledge of 100,000 daily tests has been met.

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Mr Hancock pledged to reach the target by the end of April - although only 52,000 tests were carried out on Tuesday.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon.

Ms Sturgeon previously pledged to match England on NHS testing capacity.

That target of having the capacity for 3,500 tests per day in Scotland has been met - but there have been reports that far fewer than that are actually being carried out.

In both Scotland and England, any hospital patients who are suspected of having Covid-19 have been getting tested for the virus since the outbreak began.

The Scottish government recently extended this to all patients over the age of 70, who are now be tested after being admitted to hospital, and again every four days during their stay - regardless of whether they are showing any symptoms.

On Thursday, Ms Sturgeon quashed hopes of a lifting of any lockdown restrictions in the next week, saying that the reduction in the spread of coronavirus was still “too fragile”.

According to the latest statistics, the number of people who have died after testing positive for the virus in Scotland has risen to 1,475, up 60 from 1,415 on Wednesday.

A total of 11,353 people have now tested positive for Covid-19, up by 319 in 24 hours, with 1,748 people in hospital with confirmed or suspected Covid-19, and of these patients, 109 are in intensive care, a reduction of five.

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Joy Yates

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