Scotland’s coronavirus contact tracing app is now compatible with similar systems in Northern Ireland and Jersey – and should be able to link up with the app in England and Wales in the “coming weeks”.
Health Secretary Jeane Freeman said such moves are an “important step” in helping to reduce the spread of Covid-19.
More than 1.5 million people have downloaded the Protect Scotland app to their smartphones, with more than 10,000 people having been contacted by the system to let them know they have been in close contact with someone who has tested positive for coronavirus.
Now the system will work in conjunction with the StopCOVID NI app as well the Jersey COVID Alert one.
Users are being urged to keep the Protect Scotland app active on their phone if they travel to either Northern Ireland or Jersey – allowing the different systems to connect to each other.
Meanwhile, an agreement has been reached over the NHS COVID-19 app used in England and Wales, while Beat COVID Gibraltar will join Scotland’s federated server in early November.
Welcoming the work, Ms Freeman said: “The Protect Scotland app is a vital tool in helping supressing Covid-19 and I welcome that the app now works with the relevant contact tracing apps in Northern Ireland and Jersey.
“This is an important step in helping further reduce the spread of the virus.
“While people are being advised to travel less at the moment, this compatibility will allow those having to travel for essential reasons to continue to be alerted via the Protect Scotland app if they have been in close contact with a positive Covid-19 case while in Northern Ireland or Jersey.
“There will be no need to download the Northern Irish or Jersey app, instead the Protect Scotland app will speak to those apps behind the scenes.”
The Health Secretary added: “Agreement has been reached with England and Wales for the NHS Covid-19 app to become compatible in the coming weeks and we are working to ensure Protect Scotland is compatible with other European apps over time.
“More than 1.5 million people have downloaded Protect Scotland since it was launched last month and more than 10,000 people have been contacted via the app to let them know they have been in close contact with someone who has tested positive for Covid-19.
“This allows people to self-isolate quickly if they have been exposed to the virus, reducing the risk of them infecting others.
“We also know that not everyone uses a smartphone or will be able to or want to access the app, which is why this software is very much there to complement existing contact tracing methods.”