Take a video tour of the new coronavirus walk-in test centre opening at Edinburgh's Usher Hall
A new walk-in coronavirus testing centre has opened at the Usher Hall concert venue bringing 50 jobs to the city.
Members of the public experiencing symptoms of the virus are now able to book their tests in the iconic city centre venue.
The new facility opened at 2 pm on Friday amid a number of outbreaks at student halls of residence in the Capital.
To date 125 cases have been confirmed, 120 cases at Edinburgh Napier University, and a small number at Queen Margaret University and Edinburgh University.
A total of 50 local people, all of whom lost their jobs due to redundancy caused by the pandemic, have found new employment at the testing centre.
Working on full-time contracts the new employees will help keep the city safe by providing safe and sterile facilities for members of the public to carry out tests in.
Dressed in protective gear the new staff have been working hard since Wednesday to transform the Georgian building into a testing centre, with booths set up in the foyer areas.
On her first day in the job Esther Lynn, 19, said that she was ‘pleased’ to be working again.
Facilities management firm Mitie will run the Usher Hall centre with funding support from the UK Government.
Mobilisation lead at Mitie, Ric Fyfe said it is an ‘amazing’ venue and staff have been careful to preserve the building.
He said: “The Usher Hall has very kindly let us use their facility and it’s easy for people to get to. It’s an amazing, central venue with a lot of space.
“It’s about making sure we take what is a beautiful old building and we make sure we preserve the marble floors. But also we make sure it can be clinically cleaned.”
Members of the public who are experiencing a high temperature, a new, continuous cough and a loss or change to your sense of smell or taste should book an appointment at the centre which is open seven days a week.
Mr Fyfe has urged members of the public not to “just turn up” but to book ahead using their online service.
He hopes that the central location will help make sure people in and around the city can access tests easily, especially to those without access to a car.
Scotland Office minister Iain Stewart welcomed the opening of the new service and said that testing will play a vital role in the coming months and is the key to managing local outbreaks.
He said: “The UK Government is committed to helping all parts of the UK fight coronavirus.
“We are providing the bulk of Covid-19 testing in Scotland, and this new walk-through centre in Edinburgh comes on top of nine other testing sites across Scotland funded by the UK Government, as well as the Glasgow Lighthouse lab.
“Testing will play a vital part over the coming months, helping to manage local outbreaks and protect livelihoods.
“This walk-through centre will help people in Edinburgh have easy access to a test in the city centre.
“We are pleased to be working with commercial partners and with Edinburgh’s iconic Usher Hall.
“These sites are not possible without the hard work of many people and I would like to thank everyone involved for their incredible efforts.”