AS many as 12,000 people in Johnstone could be checked for coronavirus next week as it hosts the first large-scale rapid community testing pilot in Scotland.

Residents will be able to visit an asymptomatic test site for a lateral flow test, which delivers results within 30 minutes.

Health Secretary Jeane Freeman said an increased capability to carry out mass asymptomatic testing will be a “powerful” tool in the fight against Covid-19.

She added: “Next week we will be deploying up to six mobile testing units and 20,000 home test kits to support work in five local authority areas – Glasgow, Renfrewshire, East and South Ayrshire and Clackmannanshire.

"We will also set up an asympomatic test site using lateral flow testing in Johnstone, in Renfrewshire, which has one of the highest new cases per 100,000 of any local authority in Scotland.

"This centre will have capacity to test up to 12,000 people over the course of the week and we are actively planning targeted deployment for early January, including further asymptomatic test sites."

Ms Freeman added that officials will work closely with local communities on how to “encourage high participation” in local mass testing schemes.

The Health Secretary unveiled the plans to parliament this afternoon, which also included a pledge to extend twice-weekly testing to all frontline NHS workers.