Protect Scotland: New coronavirus tracing app live - here's how it works

Nicola Sturgeon urges Scots to download new Protect Scotland app.

A new contact tracing app to help combat the spread of Covid-19 in Scotland has gone live.

According to the Scottish Government, the software will support the Test and Protect system and is “another tool in the fight against Covid-19”.

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The Protect Scotland app can be downloaded free onto a smart phone and lets people know if they have been in close contact with someone who later tests positive.

It can be downloaded for free from Apple's App Store or Google Play.

Urging as many people as possible to get involved in the new tracing scheme, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon tweeted on Thursday morning: “There's a new way to help fight Covid in Scotland.

“Protect Scotland – our confidential contact tracing app – will anonymously notify app users you've been in close contact with, should you test positive.

“Please download, and let's all protect Scotland.”

Scotland's Covid-19 contact tracing app goes live.Scotland's Covid-19 contact tracing app goes live.
Scotland's Covid-19 contact tracing app goes live.

How the app works

- Once you have installed and set up Protect Scotland, it will run in the background of your device. You can use your phone and other apps as normal.

- Using Bluetooth, the app will exchange anonymous, encrypted, random codes with other mobile phones with the Protect Scotland app installed. You do not need to have a WiFi connection and the app uses a very small amount of your mobile phone data, but you do need to keep Bluetooth switched on.

- When the app finds another user, it will record the contact, the distance between your phones and the length of time your phone was near theirs. This is all done anonymously.

- If you test positive for coronavirus, you can choose to input the Test Code, provided by the contact tracer, into the app. This will automatically notify other app users that you have been in close contact with (within 2 metres for at least 15 minutes).

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- When another app user tests positive, and has inputted a Test Code, the app will notify you and any others if it determines you may be at risk.

- You may or may not still be contacted by a contact tracer. This depends on whether you have been identified to be at risk through traditional contact tracing methods.

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