News

Protect Scotland app compatible with English and Welsh app

Published: 05 Nov 2020 12:00

Important step in further reducing the spread of COVID-19.

People who have downloaded the Protect Scotland app will now be able to continue using it if they travel to England and Wales, as well as Gibraltar.

Scotland has developed its own ‘federated server’ which allows for all proximity apps within the UK, Crown Dependencies and Gibraltar to work with each other for the first time.

From today, the second phase of this interoperability means that Protect Scotland will continue working when people are required to travel for essential reasons to England,  Wales and Gibraltar.

This follows on from interoperability being achieved with apps in Northern Ireland and Jersey on 28 October, with the next phase for Scotland being consideration of interoperability with other similar apps from other countries and regions.

Those who have downloaded Protect Scotland do not need to do anything for this to work, they simply need to keep the app active while in England, Wales or Gibraltar.

Their phone will be able to connect to the relevant apps in those places and continue to alert users if they have been in close contact with someone who has tested positive for coronavirus (COVID-19).

Likewise, if users of Protect Scotland test positive in Scotland, any users of the English and Welsh NHS COVID-19 app or the Beat COVID Gibraltar app who have been in close proximity will receive a notification.

Health Secretary Jeane Freeman said:

“The Protect Scotland app is a vital tool in helping suppressing COVID-19 and I welcome that the app now works with the English and Welsh NHS COVID-19 app, as well as Beat COVID Gibraltar. This follows on from interoperability being achieved with apps in Northern Ireland and Jersey and is an important step in helping further reduce the spread of the virus.

“While people are being advised to only travel for essential purposes at the moment, this compatibility will allow those having to travel to continue to be alerted via the Protect Scotland app if they have been in close contact with a positive COVID-19 case.

“More than 1.5 million people have downloaded Protect Scotland since it was launched last month and more than 13,000 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.”

Background

The Scottish Government has signed an agreement relating to the interoperability of COVID-19 Contact Tracing Applications within the UK, Crown Dependencies and Gibraltar.  This agreement reduces the need for residents to install multiple Contact Tracing Applications on their mobile devices. Interoperability is achieved by the ‘backends’ of each app securely sending the Diagnosis Keys generated following a positive Covid-19 test result to a shared Federated Server owned and run by NHS Scotland. This Federated Server then shares the Diagnosis Keys with the Backend Servers of linked Contact Tracing Applications. People who test positive still need to use the app of the country they test positive in in order to insert their test code.  This approach has been agreed by all signatories to the agreement following advice from national cyber security authorities. No personal data is shared.

For more information visit protect.scot