Take a video tour of the new coronavirus walk-in test centre opening at Edinburgh's Usher Hall

Testing at the new site will start today, Friday 25 September, from 2pm, with appointments made available every day.

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.

Hide Ad
Read More
Pub curfew: Police Scotland are putting extra officers on the streets as 10 pm c...
Usher Hall's new walk-through clinic in Edinburgh video: Shona Elliott/JPI Media

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.

Hide Ad

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.

Hide Ad

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.

Hide Ad

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.

Hide Ad

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.”

Hide Ad

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.

Hide Ad

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.

Hide Ad

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.

Hide Ad

“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.

Hide Ad

“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.”

Hide Ad

A message from the Editor:

Thank you for reading this story on our website. While I have your attention, I also have an important request to make of you.

Hide Ad

The dramatic events of 2020 are having a major impact on many of our advertisers - and consequently the revenue we receive. We are now more reliant than ever on you taking out a digital subscription to support our journalism.

Subscribe to the Edinburgh Evening News online and enjoy unlimited access to trusted, fact-checked news and sport from Edinburgh and the Lothians. Visit https://www.edinburghnews.scotsman.com/subscriptions now to sign up.

Hide Ad

By supporting us, we are able to support you in providing trusted, fact-checked content for this website.

Joy Yates

Hide Ad

Editorial Director