Covid “Rapid” test kits should be made available to everyone in Scotland – even if they have no symptoms.
The Scottish government has said that free lateral flow tests will be available from Monday.
They can be picked up without appointment at many walk-in or drive-through test locations starting at 3:30 pm each afternoon.
The scheme is designed to find cases that would otherwise not be detected, the Scottish government said.
This means that anyone without the symptoms of Covid-19, who does not yet have access to asymptomatic tests, can get tested – including those planning to travel to a Scottish island.
The first test must be done three days before the trip to an island and the second on the day of departure, said the Scottish government.
Since April 16, people are allowed to travel through Scotland, as long as they don’t stay overnight.
This includes the Scottish islands, although some islanders have expressed concern about the risk of cases being imported from the continent into communities that experienced low levels of infection during the pandemic.
The Scottish government has said it wants to encourage anyone traveling to an island to take a test in advance.
Another 177 cases were confirmed in Scotland on Saturday, with 1.1% of all tests positive.
Four deaths from Covid in 28 days after a positive test were also reported.
Each test pack will contain seven side-flow kits, which can provide results in about 30 minutes.
If the test is positive, people are instructed to isolate themselves and request a PCR test to confirm the result.
The medical director, Dr. Gregor Smith, said: “This expansion is based on our existing testing strategy and will assist in our efforts to safely lift the country out of the blockade.
“Routine tests are now available for people without symptoms in a wide variety of settings, including schools, high-risk workplaces and communities where Covid-19 rates remain stubbornly high.”
Dr. Smith said the rapid lateral flow test was already helping to find cases that could be missed, as about one in three people with Covid-19 had no symptoms.
“It may be tempting to think that as vaccinations increase and cases decrease, testing will become less important,” he added.
“In fact, this will only make it more important to detect and prevent new outbreaks as cases arise. We know from our experience last summer how quickly an outbreak can lead to another.”