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People urged to download new COVID-19 contact tracing app

A contact tracing app designed to support NHS Scotland’s Test and Protect system and combat the spread of COVID-19 has gone live.

The free “Protect Scotland” app can now be downloaded onto smartphones from Apple’s App Store or Google Play, or from this website.

The software will use Bluetooth technology to anonymously alert users if they have been in close contact with another user who has tested positive for COVID-19.

This will complement existing person-to-person contact tracing which will remain the main component of NHS Scotland’s Test and Protect system.

If an individual tests positive for COVID-19 they will be sent a unique test code to their mobile by a contact tracer. If they give permission, the data will then be sent to a server so close contacts also using the app can be traced.

This will automatically notify other app users that you have been in close contact with (within two metres for at least 15 minutes).

The app will help break chains of infection, speed up the process of identifying people at risk of catching coronavirus and reduce its ability to spread, the Scottish Government has said.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon urged people to get involved in the new tracing technology amid a rising number of cases in Scotland.

She tweeted: “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.”

The app does not hold personal information, know who you are, or know where you have been. It cannot identify you or track your movements.

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 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.