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PCR testing in Scotland has gone down for a second time this week with just a handful of walk-through sites offering on-the-day testing.
At lunchtime on Wednesday, only four out of the 56 walk-in testing sites in the country were available for booking a same-day appointment.
The rest currently do not have any PCR test appointments available until Thursday, and most of those are in the afternoon.
Of the eight drive-through sites in Scotland, none appeared to have available appointments until Thursday either.
People trying to book a test at some of the centres received a message reading: “There are currently no slots available on this day. Try again this evening, when more test slots will be made available.”
Mobile units for most postcode areas in Scotland however are still operating on-the-day testing.
Asked about the PCR shortage in Parliament on Wednesday, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said fluctuations in availability is to be expected.
She urged the public to be patient and wait for a few hours before returning to the UK Government test booking website to see if new slots are available.
“Demand was constrained for England last night (Tuesday), an administrative error led to slots being removed for the other three nations, but that has now been resolved,” she said.
“There will sometimes be slots available in places that are not easily accessible, which is why what I would say to people is go back and check later, because new slots are made available for PCR tests throughout the day.”
She said priority is being given to essential workers and those who are clinically vulnerable.
“This is a UK system, so we are required that it is done in partnership with the UK Government and other nations,” she added.
Ms Sturgeon said testing capacity is still available despite the glitch and urged people who have tested positive for the virus or who are showing symptoms to get tested.
The lack of PCR test slots came as Scotland saw a record number of positive Covid-19 test results.
A total of 15,849 new cases of coronavirus infections were recorded in the last 24 hours, Ms Sturgeon announced on Wednesday.
This is the highest number of daily cases since the start of the pandemic.
The number is 4,819 more than the previous high recorded on Boxing Day.
The First Minister said the much higher test positivity in recent days may be partially explained by people being more selective about going for a test over the festive period.
Three more people had died after testing positive for the virus, taking the total number of coronavirus-related deaths to 9,836, according to the latest Scottish Government figures.
As of Tuesday night, 679 people were in hospital with Covid-19, 80 more than the previous day, and 36 were in intensive care – a decrease of one.
The UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA), which covers most work handled by Track and Trace has been approached for comment.