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Nicola Sturgeon admitted Scotland alone cannot solve the issue of delayed return of coronavirus tests after confirming she has been working with Matt Hancock to address the problem. The First Minister said she has been communicating with the UK Health Secretary to ensure Scotland continues to have “fair access” to UK labs. Ms Sturgeon said: “This has not been an issue of access to testing slots at regional testing centres or mobile testing units but instead it’s been one of sufficient access to Lighthouse laboratory processing.
“It is this that has led to a backlog in the system and longer turnaround time for tests than we want to be the case.
“As this is a UK-wide system, we are not able to resolve this on our own and the issues are impacted by demand elsewhere in the UK.”
The SNP leader continued: “To that end I had a constructive conference call with Matt Hancock and Dido Harding, who’s head of the UK testing system to seek assurances is and will continue to get fair access to the UK-wide laboratory capacity.
“And also discuss how we can resolve this issues. So I hope we can see improvement over the next few days but, of course, I will continue to provide updates.”
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However the comment sparked irony on social media after users noted the First Minister has requested continued access to the very same labs Scotland would no longer be allowed to use if the nation were to become independent.
Scottish Conservative councillor for Milngavie Graham McGinnigle wrote: “Nicola Sturgeon just commented on getting fair access to UK Laboratory space.
“The same laboratory space that she wants us to walk away from.”
Another user said: “Can’t wait to see the data which will prove the Labs provide a proportionately higher capacity to Scotland.
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“Wasted by SNP @scotgovhealth processes and ideology driven management. Watch.”
And one user commented: “Quotes like ‘now as this is a UK wide system we cannot fix this on our own’ in regards to lack of tests is why we need main BBC news to interrogate Sturgeon’s briefings more.”
In her daily coronavirus briefing, the First Minister also confirmed one patient diagnosed with COVID-19 had died in the past 24 hours.
Following a delay in updating the new number of infections on Monday, Ms Sturgeon confirmed 267 people in Scotland have been confirmed as new cases of the coronavirus.
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Despite the surge in cases, Ms Sturgeon appeared optimistic when she said restrictions on indoor meetings had shown to have on effect in parts of NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde.
She said: “The good news is that the early indications suggest that the restrictions in place in Glasgow City, East and West Dunbartonshire, Renfrewshire and East Renfrewshire might be helping to slow down the increase in new cases so that at this stage is positive.
“But the number of new cases in these parts of Greater Glasgow and Clyde still remains high and is still increasing albeit we think at a slower rate than would have been the case without these restrictions being in place.”
The Scottish Government announced on Monday evening that the restrictions on meeting in indoor household settings will remain in place for another week and will then be reviewed again.
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