Remote Scottish areas to benefit from 12-minute Coronavirus test machines

An ewe and its lambs rest on the Isle of Lewis and Harris, an island off the northwestern tip of Scotland in the Outer Hebrides, Britain

Scotland is buying 300 COVID-19 testing machines that can give results in 12 minutes, the Scottish Government said on Wednesday, helping to locate potential outbreaks in remote locations.

The devolved Scottish Government, which has power over health policy, said UK life sciences firm LumiraDx would supply at least 500,000 tests under the 6.76 million pound ($8.9 million) deal.

The test was given emergency approval last week by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The Scottish government said the test was going through the final stages of validation for use in Scotland.

“The contract with LumiraDx to supply 12-minute test instruments to NHS Scotland is great news for communities across the country and for the global fight against this virus,” said Ivan McKee, Scottish trade minister.

The machines can be used anywhere, making them suitable for Scotland’s remote island communities, and are connected by a “cloud” system to help track outbreaks.

Scotland’s move to buy the machines comes ahead of an expected future procurement deal between the four nations of the United Kingdom.

UK health minister Matt Hancock said at the start of August that the government would roll out millions of 90-minute tests.

Last week, Hancock said he planned to bring in regular, population-wide testing for COVID-19 by the end of the year, and tests with faster turn-around times were being trialled.

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