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First minister announces plans for service to identify new Covid variants

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Scotland will establish a new genomic sequencing service to identify different variants of coronavirus, Nicola Sturgeon has said.

As part of the new testing strategy, to be announced in Holyrood on Wednesday afternoon, £13 million will be invested in a new sequencing centre over the next year, with the centre being able to sequence up to 1,000 samples per day, the First Minister told the coronavirus briefing.

“That’s going to be really important in the next phase of the pandemic, helping us identify new variants at as early a stage as possible so that we can try, where those variants are of concern, to make as sure as we can that they don’t get a foothold into the community and start to spread more widely.”

The First Minister said the centre would also be used in the future for any other pandemics or similar public health crises.

Latest figures

Scotland has recorded 12 deaths from coronavirus and 625 positive tests in the past 24 hours, Nicola Sturgeon has confirmed.

It brings the death toll under this measure – of people who first tested positive for the virus within the previous 28 days – to 7,529.

Speaking at the Scottish Government’s coronavirus briefing, the First Minister said 211,230 people have now tested positive in Scotland, up from 210,605 on Tuesday.

The daily test positivity rate is 3%, down from 3.8% on the previous day.

There are 422 people in hospital confirmed to have the virus, down 18 in 24 hours, and 38 patients are in intensive care, a fall of four.

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