HEALTH boards and GPs have been ordered to test would-be care home residents for coronavirus after some people were wrongly refused checks.

As a cluster of seven Covid cases was confirmed in another home, Health Secretary Jeane Freeman demanded all potential residents receive at least one negative test.

It followed a public complaint from the care home industry body that some people were being refused tests because they were entering from the community, not from hospitals.

Care home residents entering from hospital must get two negative tests before admittance.

Scottish Care chief executive Donald MacAskill tweeted on Sunday that: “Many #carehome managers now telling me #GPs and #PublicHealth refusing to test new residents from the community before admission - little point in protection from hospitals if other routes not tested. Huge pressure on system. This needs reviewed urgently. #Covid19”.  

At the daily briefing, Ms Freeman was asked about Mr MacAskill’s comments and said she had spoken to him on Sunday about the problem.

She confirmed reports from Scottish Care that some GPs and directors of public health have refused to test people going into care homes, against the Scottish Government's policy.

She said: “My understanding is that this is certainly not widespread, but it does appear to be the case that in some instances either GPs or directors of public health are assessing whether or not individuals who are to be admitted into a care home from their own home, from the community, should be tested. 

"The guidance and the requirement from me is crystal clear on this.

"If you are to be admitted to a care home, unless there is a clinical reason not to do this, then there should be one negative test before that admission and then the individual needs to be nursed and looked after in their own room in isolation for the 14 days to be absolutely sure that - even with a negative test - no symptoms are going to be developed."

Also at the briefing, Nicola Sturgeon said there had been 19 new cases of Covid identified overnight, 12 in the Greater Glasgow and Clyde Area.

Of these, seven were asymptomatic cases in a single care home.

The First Minister said of the cluster: "That is being looked at in much greater detail and all necessary follow-up tests, checks and precautions are being undertaken."

A series of lockdown measures were relaxed today.

Stores within shopping centres are allowed to open, contact sports for children can resume, and dental practices can see registered patients for ‘non-aerosol’ procedures.

Named visitors can also visit non-Covid patients in hospitals.

However Wednesday sees the biggest shift in Phase 3 of Ms Sturgeon’s route to normality, with the reopening of the tourism and hospitality sector.

Indoor restaurants, cafes and pubs will be able to re-open without strict 2m social distancing, provided they record customers’ contact information.

All holiday accommodation, childcare facilities, hairdressers, barbers, museums, galleries, cinemas and libraries can also open from Wednesday, with strict physical distancing.

Places of worship can also re-open from Wednesday for communal prayer, albeit with limited attendance numbers and physical distancing. 

Limits on attendance at funerals, weddings and civil partnerships will also be eased, though full-scale gatherings are still not permitted.

Ms Sturgeon said: "As these services reopen and as we all leave the house a bit more than has been the case over the past few months, it becomes ever more important that we take the basic steps to avoid the virus spreading again."

Compliance with new regulations making face coverings mandatory in shops - which came into force on Friday - was "extremely high indeed", she said.

"It is what I would have expected but nevertheless it is still welcome," she added.

While face coverings are currently mandatory in shops and on public transport, Ms Sturgeon added they can be used in other indoor spaces when social distancing cannot be adhered to and should be used in communal areas of shopping centres.

She also reiterated her call not to gather in large groups or to go to places that are busy.

A road in the Trossachs had to close over the weekend as parked cars made it impassable.

Ms Sturgeon said: "We're asking you to please use your common sense - if car parks are full, move on, if places look busy then also move on.

"Our very strong advice, as you know, is to avoid crowded places, whether they're outdoors or indoors."

She said there had been concerns raised with her about "large numbers of people wild camping".