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Protect Scotland app launches

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has urged smartphone users across Scotland to download NHS Scotland’s new contact tracing app to help suppress the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19).

The app is now available to download for free via Apple and Google stores by searching ‘Protect Scotland’.

How the app works

Once you have installed and set up Protect Scotland, it will run in the background of your device.

Using Bluetooth, the app will exchange random, encrypted codes with other app users. No WiFi connection is required and the app uses a very small amount of mobile phone data. Bluetooth needs to be switched on for it to work.

When the app finds another user, it will record the contact, the distance between the phones and the length of time the phones were near each other. This is all done anonymously. The app doesn’t hold or pass on personal information or track movements.

It uses tried and tested technology developed by Apple and Google and is already working successfully in Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.

What happens next?

Positive cases will have the option to receive a Test Result Code, provided by the contact tracer, to enter into the app.

Other app users who have been in close contact with the positive case (within 2 metres for at least 15 minutes) will receive an automated alert on the app.

They will be asked to self-isolate for 14 days. Other advice may also be given, as appropriate.

How does it link to the wider contact tracing system?

The app will help find more proximity contacts than those able to be identified by traditional contact tracing alone. It remembers close contacts that the index case may have forgotten about or who they don’t know.

It is useful to see Protect Scotland as another tool, like wearing face coverings and physical distancing, which will help make it harder for the virus to be passed on.

Those who receive a proximity alert through the app may or may not still be contacted by a contact tracer. This depends on whether they have been identified to be at risk through traditional contact tracing methods.

Where can I find out more information?

More information about how the app works, a short explainer video and FAQs are available at

“Like everyone, we faced unprecedented circumstances, however, our teaching and support staff used their skills, knowledge and experience to act, react and respond to the situation we found ourselves in.

– Caroline Amos, Head of Education

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