Opening of Edinburgh regional laboratory for Covid testing delayed due to 'last minute issue'

The official opening of a laboratory in the Capital set up to increase Scotland’s testing capacity has been stalled due to a fault in the property’s sprinkler system.

By Katharine Hay
Monday, 4th January 2021, 3:35 pm

The First Minister of Scotland gave the news when she addressed MSPs in Parliament about the country’s latest lockdown measures which will be imposed from tomorrow.

During her session, MSP Ruth Davidson questioned Nicola Sturgeon on Scotland’s testing capacity and asked when Edinburgh’s regional laboratory, set up to aid testing Scots for coronavirus during the pandemic, will reopen.

Ms Sturgeon said the property will “open shortly” and has been delayed opening due to a “last minute issue with a sprinkler system” in the building.

A laboratory technician wearing full PPE (personal protective equipment) cleans a test tube containing a live sample taken from people tested for the novel coronavirus, at a new Lighthouse Lab facility dedicated to testing for COVID-19, at Queen Elizabeth University Hospital in Glasgow on April 22, 2020 picture: Andrew Milligan/AFP via Getty Images

She did not give further details on an exact date.

The laboratory, in Lauriston Place, is one of three regional hub laboratories set up to increase Scotland’s testing capacity.

Establishment of the hubs is being led by National Services Scotland (NSS), and the remaining sites are the Glasgow hub laboratory, which opened on 15 December and is located at Gartnavel Hospital, and another at Foresterhill in Aberdeen which is due to open in the coming weeks.

The labs are fitted with Amplitude systems which can analyse up to 3,000 samples in a 12-hour shift using a highly automated molecular diagnostic system, according to government officials.

The news comes as the First Minister announced all of mainland Scotland will be going into a “full” lockdown from tomorrow – similar to the lockdown imposed in March 2020.

From January 5, all residents in the country will be urged to stay at home unless they need to leave for essential purposes.

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