Health Secretary Humza Yousaf says reaching 15 million tests is a “major milestone”
More than 15 million PCR tests have been carried out in Scotland since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, a figure hailed as a “milestone” for health teams across the country.
A total of 15,092,074 of the tests, which include those performed by NHS Scotland, three NHS regional hubs and the network of health board diagnostic labs, have been carried out since the system was rolled out almost two years ago.
They were also completed at the four-nations network of Lighthouse laboratories, partner laboratories and testing sites.
Health Secretary Humza Yousaf said reaching 15 million tests is a “major milestone” and “recognition of the hard work and dedication of our testing teams across the country”.
The UK Government said almost three-fifths of PCR tests in Scotland – some 8,964,876 – have been carried out at its facilities.
A spokeswoman said: “We are working with the Scottish Government to make sure that people in Scotland have access to vital Covid testing.
“The UK Government is providing all Covid testing in Scotland outside of the NHS, through dozens of walk-through and drive-though sites, as well as 24/7 processing in the Glasgow Lighthouse lab.
“So far we have provided nearly nine million of the 15 million Covid tests done in Scotland, a great effort by all involved.”
The news comes as Scotland recorded 17 coronavirus-related deaths and a further 7,676 positive cases in the past 24 hours, according to Scottish Government data released on Friday.
There were 1,042 people in hospital on Thursday with recently confirmed Covid-19, down from 1,083 on Wednesday.
The number of people in intensive care decreased from 29 to 27.
Figures also show that across Scotland, 4,418,804 people have received their first dose of a Covid vaccination, 4,132,928 have had a second dose, and 3,310,626 have received a third dose or booster.
Mr Yousaf added: “It may be tempting to think as vaccinations increase and cases drop, testing will become less important.
“In fact, this will only make it more important to spot and prevent new outbreaks as cases emerge.
“We know from our experience just how quickly one outbreak can lead to another.
“The recent changes to testing requirements and self-isolation guidance are helping to maximise testing capacity and ensure a speedier start to the process of contact tracing.
“It is crucial that individuals report their LFD (lateral flow device) test results online to enable us to understand the prevalence of Covid-19, and allow contacts of those with positive results to rapidly receive the correct advice to prevent onward spread.
“The ability to quickly identify new outbreaks and put appropriate measures in place will remain at the heart of our strategy to help break chains of transmission.”
Three regional hubs were established last year by National Services Scotland, in Glasgow at Gartnavel hospital, Foresterhill in Aberdeen and Lauriston Place in Edinburgh, to increase testing capacity.
These facilities run alongside the testing capacity provided by the UK Government Lighthouse lab network in Scotland.