News

Protect Scotland app compatible with tracing apps in Northern Ireland and Jersey

Published: 28 Oct 2020 09:00

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 Northern Ireland and Jersey.

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

From today, the first phase of this interoperability means that Protect Scotland will continue working when people are required to travel for essential reasons to Northern Ireland and Jersey. 

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 Northern Ireland and Jersey.

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 StopCOVID NI or Jersey COVID Alert who have been in close proximity will receive a notification.

Work continues to make the Protect Scotland app interoperable with other contact tracing apps. An agreement has been reached so that the NHS COVID-19 app used in England and Wales and Beat COVID Gibraltar will join Scotland’s federated server in early November. 

By developing its own server, Scotland now has the potential to make it easier for other apps elsewhere in Europe and further afield to also work with Protect Scotland.

Health Secretary Jeane 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.

“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.”

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. 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