Edinburgh could have eight new Covid-19 testing centres
Eight new coronavirus testing centres are set to open in Edinburgh.
Edinburgh City Council is currently investigating suitable locations for eight further testing centres, in addition to the three currently in operation, in response to demands from the UK government.
It currently licences three council-owned properties for use as coronavirus testing centres: Gate 55, on Sighthill Road; Usher Hall, on Lothian Road; and Leith Library, on Ferry road.
Now, the UK government has instructed the local authority - via the Scottish Government - to open up eight new centres by April.
A briefing note, sent to councillors on Tuesday February 16, reads: “We have been approached by the Scottish Government on behalf of the UK Government to provide a further eight Local Testing Sites (LTS) in Edinburgh.
“This expansion aims to:
Close the gap between the number of people being tested and the estimated number of daily new cases in the mid- to long-term;
Focus on areas of higher deprivation and low car ownership to increase access to testing; and maximise the amount of people with symptoms who get tested, by making testing easy to access (and then support these individuals to self-isolate, contact trace their contacts, and break chains of transmission).
“These centres are for testing people with symptoms of Covid-19 rather than for asymptomatic community testing, which will be covered separately.”
The eight locations, currently being investigated for use as coronavirus testing centres, are:
Granton - outdoor testing centre within the Ainslie Park Leisure Centre car park on Waterfront Avenue
Niddrie/Craigmillar - outdoor testing centre within the Jack Kane Leisure Centre car park
Restalrig - Piershill Library
Moredun - Moredun Library or Gilmerton Community Centre (to be confirmed)
Clermiston - Drumbrae Hub or Rannoch Community Centre (to be confirmed)
Oxgangs - Oxgangs library or Pentland Community Centre (to be confirmed)
Saughton - Carrickvale Community Centre or Longstone Resource Centre (to be confirmed)
Newington - Newington Library or Cameron House Community Centre (to be confirmed)
Labour councillor Scott Arthur, who represents Colinton and Fairmilehead, said: “Since day one of the pandemic it has been clear that easy access to testing has been key to defeating this deadly virus.
“I welcome the UK and Scottish government's working together on this, particularly if a testing centre is placed in Oxgangs which is at the heart of my ward.”
The briefing note continues: “The UK government would like to have all eight centres operational by April. They have the capacity to mobilise three centres per week.
“Once the preferred option for an area is identified, timescales are likely to move fast. A site visit to finalise the layout for the LTS will be followed quickly by a licence agreement and handover of the building.”