Additional mobile testing units and community testing is being introduced in the north-east to help reduce the spread of Covid-19.
The measures are part of a £3m investment package in Scotland’s testing system and will allow NHS Fife and NHS Grampian to introduce community testing from this month.
Testing of all care at home providers will begin from January 18 to increase protection for those providing care and those receiving it.
Locally-led community testing will continue to be supported through the national mobile testing unit fleet which is delivered by the Scottish Ambulance Service.
In partnership with the UK Government, and through additional funding of £800,000 from the Scottish Government, the fleet will grow from 18 to 42 by March 2021 and will have the capacity to reach 84 communities.
Health Secretary Jeane Freeman said: “These announcements represent a further important expansion of our testing system and will provide additional protection for our communities.
“Increased testing in this way will help us find and isolate more cases, by targeting resources with communities where there is high prevalence, helping us to identify more cases of the virus and giving us all a better chance of stopping the virus from spreading.
“But while testing is important, it is only one of the tools we have to prevent the spread of the virus. A test only tells us if we are positive at the point in time that we are being tested. It does not mean that we can stop following all of the rules and guidelines which are in place. All these measures work to greatest effect when they work together.”
The additional investment in the MTU fleet will allow the fleet to split into smaller units, with the capacity to reach 84 communities.
Better lighting and clothing to equip vehicles and crews for winter conditions will also enable them to operate for longer.