The Scottish Government has confirmed that 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 in Gibraltar.

Scotland 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 any essential reasons to England,  Wales and Gibraltar.

This interoperability was achieved for apps in Northern Ireland and Jersey on 28 October 2020. The next phase for Scotland is to consider the working of the app 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 it will continue to alert users if they have been in close contact with someone who has tested positive for coronavirus.

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.”