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A further 46 people with coronavirus have died in Scotland, new figures have shown.First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said the total number of confirmed deaths across the country was now 172.Ms Sturgeon said 3,001 people had now tested positive for the virus, an increase of 399 from Thursday.There are 1,321 patients in hospital who have been diagnosed with the virus, including 176 who are being treated in intensive care.The first minister also said NHS Scotland's testing capacity would increase from 1,900 a day to at least 3,500 "by the end of this month at the latest".
The Scottish government had been urged to follow UK government plans to boost the number of tests it is doing, with UK health secretary Matt Hancock setting a target of 100,000 tests a day in England.
Many hospitals have set up drive-through testing areas
The move followed widespread criticism for not increasing the number of tests more quickly.Current testing is only reliable in confirming someone has coronavirus, but both the Scottish and UK governments hope a reliable antibody test that tells whether you have previously had the disease will soon become available.Ms Sturgeon denied that the Scottish government's testing plan was "less ambitious" than the rest of the UK and said it was "not right to compare" the new 3,500 Scottish target with the UK's 100,000 figure that was announced on Thursday. She said: "The 3,5000 target that we have set for the end of this month at the latest was equivalent to the first pillar of the five pillars that Matt Hancock outlined yesterday."The UK's target is 25,000 by the end of April so, proportionately, our target is a bit more ambitious than the UK's."
Antibody trials
The first minister added: "It is over and above that where the UK gets to 100,000, and what I'm saying is that, through those same measures, Scotland will get to a position that is proportionately the same."The Scottish government is also considering plans around antibody testing, but the first minister cautioned against expectations that such a scheme could start any time soon."That kind of test doesn't currently exist," she said. "We hope it will do soon, but the fact is that might still be some time away."
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