SCOTLAND is carrying out slightly over one tenth of a 10,000 coronavirus tests a day target due to be met by tomorrow, official government figures reveal.

A month after Nicola Sturgeon set the strategy to do 10,000 tests a day, new official figures from the last nine days show that just over 1370 are being tested daily on average - an increase of just 30-a-day or 2.2%.

On April 3, when the First Minister set out an aim to "proportionately" match with 10% of the 100,000-tests-a-day pledge by the UK health secretary Matt Hancock, 1263 tests were carried out.

A Herald analysis of official data shows that it is not now doing testing 10,000  a week.

READ MORE: Hugh Pennington: Mistakes made over testing, PPE and care homes

The only time testing  in Scotland has gone above 2000 a day since the crisis began was on April 4 - the day after Ms Sturgeon set her new target.

HeraldScotland: Daily results refer to the number of tests in the Health Protection Scotland system reported to Health Protection Scotland by the laboratories in the 24 hours from 08:00 to 08:00. 

It comes as ministers have been blasted by Professor Hugh Pennington, emeritus professor of bacteriology at Aberdeen University, for “not putting enough emphasis on testing”.

The microbiology expert told Holyrood’s health and sport committee - that mistakes have been made with testing, believing “we had a good test available from January 13”.

He added: “We could have done a lot more to get that test rolling in many, many centres.

“There was a problem in having a great degree of centralisation. We had the test but we did not use all the facilities that were available.

“We don’t have enough testing kits available to do the testing to a scale that we need. Testing capacity is the thing we must address first of all.”

Scottish Care called for a "significant" escalation in care home testing in Scotland so that when any Covid-19 case is diagnosed in any care home that all residents and staff are immediately tested.

It said that right now only new care home admissions and residents with symptoms are tested.

"This would enable appropriate action to be taken on isolation and nursing for residents and for staff to self-isolate," said a Scottish Care spokeswoman.

HeraldScotland:

In England, all care home residents and staff have been able to access tests from Wednesday, regardless of whether they have symptoms.

The Scottish Government. which denies missing any target, has meanwhile been preparing to have the laboratory capacity to test to rise to more than 3,500 daily by the end of this week.  But official figures reveal that in the last three full days, an average of 1308 tests-a-day were being carried out.

Testing for coronavirus is being seen as a crucial factor to easing out of lockdown - allowing the country to effectively isolate cases and their contacts to contain any spread.

Both the UK and Scottish government have been coming under fire for unpreparedness and a failure in mass testing in the current coronavirus pandemic which has claimed nearly 22,000 across the UK, with 1,415 in Scotland.

South Korea's success in keeping deaths amongst its 51.6m people to 246 was put down to early testing, tracing and surveillance.

READ MORE: Coronavirus in Scotland: Sturgeon warns against over-reliance on new app

And Michael Gove has suggested that remote parts of the UK could become the test-bed for introducing contact tracing as part of pilots in easing the lockdown measures, leading to speculation that Scotland's islands could be in the mix.

HeraldScotland:

The Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster made the comments in reference to how the devolved administrations might take a different approach to dealing with the coronavirus crisis.

He said: "My own personal view is that it is preferable if we do it (lift the lockdown) as one United Kingdom.

"But there is a specific scientific justification for saying that island communities can be areas where you could pilot some measures, contact tracing in particular, in order to combine that with relaxing measures at a progressively greater rate.

"That can help you judge what is right for the country overall."

Ms Sturgeon said that the capacity for testing was "increasing every day" and the next steps for checks in care homes will be set out in the next few days, probably on Friday.

She added: "We are considering what our increase in capacity allows us to do on a day by day basis and then what the clinical priorities are for the extension of testing.

"Testing is important but we always have to guard against seeing testing as a panacea because very often whether someone is tested or not, it is the infection prevention and control measures that are most important."

HeraldScotland:

Nicola Sturgeon said on April 3 that she wanted Scotland to play its part by aiming for "approximately 10 per cent" of Mr Hancock's target of having 100,000 tests done a day by the end of April.

According to figures for Monday there was a UK capacity for testing of 73,000 and 43,000 tests were carried out - less than half Mr Hancock's 100,000 tests-a-day target.

The ten per-cent 'rule' would have meant Scotland doing 4,356 tests and have capacity to do 7,340.

On testing, First Secretary of State Dominic Raab said that the UK testing capacity had doubled in the UK in a week.

And he admitted the 100,000-tests-a-day was only "the first stepping stone"  towards a wider tracking and tracing that is needed as the government loosens lockdown measures.

Scottish ministers have previously been accused of shifting the goalposts on test figures by following the original target of 3,500 tests by Friday.

Ms Sturgeon had insisted the government simply wanted to build up "capacity" of laboratories to be able to get to 3,500 tests a day if needed.

But on April 3, the First Minister indicated the aim was to take it further than that after British ministers said the UK would "carry out 100,000 tests for coronavirus every day by the end of this month".

Mr Hancock made the announcement with the UK government saying "increased testing for the NHS" will form part of a new five-pillar plan....to dramatically increase the number of tests being carried out each day."

Nicola Sturgeon sets out her 10,000-tests-a-day target during her briefing on April 3.

The UK government had said it accelerated testing by making use of the private sector to buy commercial swab tests, by introducing new testing centres, along with the use of hospital and research sector labs to process the results to enable the UK to undertake 100,000 more tests a day over the coming weeks.

Ms Sturgeon explained the Scottish rationale when asked why the 3,500-test target was "so modest" compared to the UK's new ambition.

She firmly denied in the April 3 briefing that Mr Hancock's 100,000 target meant Scotland was being left behind.

And she made it clear that the 3,500-test aim was not comparable to the UK's 100,000-test target.

She said that through the same measures "Scotland will get to a position which is proportionately the same" as the 100,000 target.

"It is very important to be clear, and I want to be crystal clear on this, it is not the right comparison to compare the 3,500 [for Scotland] to the UK's 100,000.

"We are both trying to get to a level for the UK's 100,000 and for us it would be the approximate 10 per cent of that," she said. "So there is no difference in terms of the aims that we have set. So I hope I am making that absolutely crystal clear."

In announcing the 100,000-test plan the UK government said global manufacturers would be encouraged to expand their manufacturing capacity in the UK.

"Our strongest, home-grown businesses in life sciences and other industries will be encouraged to turn their resources to creating and rolling out mass testing at scale, and the government will support anyone with a scalable scientific idea or innovation to start a business," the government said.

HeraldScotland:

"Significant progress to increase testing has already taken place across the country to protect the vulnerable, support our NHS, and ultimately save lives.

"New testing centres have been established at the main hotspots of the disease, and the UK has already conducted more than 152,000 tests."

A weekly analysis of official figures carried out by the Herald reveals how much Scotland has been in ramping up the number of tests it has done over the past month.

Some 9585 Covid-19 tests were carried out in the seven days from April 20 to 26 - just 172 more than the start of the month (March 30 to April 5) when Ms Sturgeon set the 10,000-test aim.

Last week the Cabinet Secretary for Government Business and Constitutional Relations Mike Russell told a Holyrood committee the idea was to complete the tests each day — not just build up the capacity to do so.

"There is no point in having the capacity unless it is used" he said. "If the target is to carry out 3,500 tests per day, we have to use it. There is not really a distinction—it is a fine, hair-splitting point. If you have capacity of 3,500, you will want to use 3,500 and you will want to add pressure to continue to push it up. "

A Scottish Government spokesman initially questioned where the 10% aim was coming from.

After it was explained, a spokesman said: "We are ramping up testing and, as the First Minister said today, we are moving into testing people without symptoms as we learn more about the virus. In the next couple of days, we will set out the next steps we will take for care homes and testing in general.

HeraldScotland:

“Infection control and management in care homes continues to be key in stopping the spread of the virus."

Later in a separate statement, the spokesman denied missing any target, although accepted that Ms Sturgeon had talked of getting to ten percent of the UK's 100,000 tests-a-day target. 

The spokesman added: "We have been repeatedly clear in our commitment to increasing NHS Scotland’s testing capacity to 3,500 per day by the end of April - we are confident that target will be met. This will represent a rapid increasing in testing capacity from a starting point of 350 tests daily at the start of this work.

“Scotland is taking steps to ensure the use of capacity for testing is maximised, and this includes work to ensure there is access to real-time data of capacity that exists in labs. We will use all resources available to us to ensure this testing happens.”