MASS testing for coronavirus will soon be rolled out in Scotland, with everyone eligible for twice weekly testing under new plans.

Nicola Sturgeon said the lateral flow tests, which give quicker results but are thought to be less sensitive than the PCR tests in use for those with symptoms, will be available universally.

The First Minister said: “This testing will be in addition to and will supplement the additional testing routes that are in place in priority areas.”

She added: “This more universal approach to asymptomatic testing will allow us to assess the impact that might have on further suppressing transmission.”

Similar tests are currently available to school staff and secondary school pupils, health workers and in some workplaces, such as food processing plants, and some particularly hard-hit areas have had universal testing rolled out.

The First Minister said the expansion would be on top of the current offering of lateral flow tests and it was important that those who were able to take up testing currently continued to do so.

She added: “What I’ve set out today is in addition to this, which will be anybody in the population can access lateral flow testing twice a week if they want it.

“So you don’t have to be symptomatic, in fact this is about trying to pick up more asymptomatic cases and again it’s just about extending the reach of testing to see what impact that has on driving down transmission.”

Ms Sturgeon said the decision had been taken to expand testing because of “greater confidence” in the stocks being available to carry out the tests.

How will it work?

Ms Sturgeon said further detail would be provided on the scheme “later this week”.

However, if we look to England who are launching the mass testing from Friday, it gives us an idea of how such a programme may be rolled out.

There, people will be able to obtain a test through a home ordering service, workplace testing programmes, school or community testing sites or by collecting one at a local testing centre.

A new “Pharmacy Collect” service is also launching there, with anyone over 18 without Covid symptoms able t visit a participating pharmacy and collect a box of seven tests to be used twice a week at home.

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What does this mean for restrictions?

The First Minister stressed that testing should not be seen as a “substitute” for following the current restrictions.

“You might test yourself one day and be negative, you could still be incubating the virus and it doesn’t show up on the test, or you could test negative, go out your front door and meet somebody that passes the virus to you,” she said.

“It doesn’t mean you can throw caution to the wind and just live completely normally.

“It’s got a big part to play, but it’s really important that we don’t talk about testing in a way that encourages people to stop taking all of the other precautions.”