Extension for virus test unit run by military

A mobile Covid-19 testing unit set up at the Gala Fairydean Rovers car park in Netherdale last Friday, allowing key workers or members of their household showing symptoms of the virus to book a test, has been given an extension.

Covid Testing at Netherdale, Galashiels
Covid Testing at Netherdale, Galashiels

It was originally supposed to run until Tuesday, but the Southern understands that has been extended to today.

The mobile testing unit (MTU), set up and run by military personnel, is one of 13 based around the country as part of the UK Government’s testing programme in support of the Scottish Government and NHS National Services Scotland.

Tracey Logan, chief executive of Scottish Borders Council, said: “I am delighted that we have managed to work with partners to quickly put in place plans to provide drive-through testing for key workers in the Borders.

Tracey Logan, chief executive of Scottish Borders Council.

“I’d urge any key worker who is self-isolating either because they or a member of their household has symptoms of Covid-19 to book a test.”

With care workers already able to be tested through the NHS, the key workers eligible to use the unit are essential workers in critical national infrastructure fundamental for safety and security and lifeline services; staff directly involved in delivering other essential services; and staff involved in volunteering or in industry important to economic sustainability and growth.

The soldiers manning the station come from the UK military’s Covid-19 support force, made up of 3,250 personnel responding to 92 requests for aid from civil authorities across the UK.

Though the Galashiels site had the capacity to test up to 300 people a day, it’s believed take-up was lower.

The soldiers stationed there, wearing personal protective equipment, offer guidance on use of self-testing kits, which are then dropped into boxes without those tested having to leave their vehicles.

A spokesperson for the UK Government’s Scotland Office said: “The test results will be issued to individuals by text message or email within 72 hours of taking the test.

“The establishment of these MTUs poses no risk to the public. No equipment will be left at the site at the end of each day of testing.

“MTUs allow us to offer testing that meets local needs and ensures wider access to testing for key workers.”

Eligible key workers can book a slot at a mobile testing unit using the digital portal at https://self-referral.test-for-coronavirus.service.gov.uk

Employers can also refer members of staff for testing for coronavirus.