THE military is to start taking ‘pop-up’ testing centres for coronavirus to care homes in Scotland, health secretary Jeane Freeman has confirmed.

Ms Freeman said the first five mobile centres would begin work this week, and a further eight would follow as part of the UK-wide response to the pandemic.

It follows reports of drive-through testing centres for health and care staff being massively under-used, with workers in rural areas unable to make the long journeys to attend them. 

READ MORE: Coronavirus in Scotland: With thousands of operations on hold, how can the NHS clear the backlog and still keep Covid under control? 

It emerged today that the military wil now begin testing essential workers south of the border, with at least 96 new pop-up facilities travelling to care homes, police and firte stations, prisons and benefits centres from May. 

On BBC Scotland’s Politics Scotland show, Mrs Freeman was asked if the Scottish Government would take up the offer of mobile testing units. 

She said: “Yes, it is. We anticipate that next week we will have five of those starting and that will be followed by a further eight.

“So will be able to offer that more direct mobile testing facility as well as what is currently underway through our NHS labs.”

Around a third of all Scottish Covid-19 deaths so far have been in care homes, although care home and hospital deaths were almost equal in the week to April 19. 

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Deaths in care homes are expected to overtake those in hospitals this week. 

Ms Freeman said around 20 per cent of care workers and care at home workers had been tested, and private home managers had been urged to access testing more.