Scottish contact tracing app at an advanced stage

Answering a question from Gillian Martin, MSP for Aberdeenshire East, the First Minister told Parliament on Thursday that the Scottish Government is developing a proximity tracing App it hopes will be ready in the autumn.

Answering a question from Gillian Martin, MSP for Aberdeenshire East, the First Minister told Parliament on Thursday that the Scottish Government is developing a proximity tracing App it hopes will be ready in the autumn.

The App is being developed using software utilised in a similar App currently being used by the Republic of Ireland.

The App would be an enhancement to the current Test and Protect programme in place in Scotland. The First Minister emphasised that such an App would not be a substitute for an on-the-ground person-to-person approach.

Commenting, Gillian Martin MSP said

I welcomed the confirmation from the First Minister that work is ongoing on a proximity tracing App for use in Scotland, and that the work is at an advanced stage.

Test and Protect is a crucial element of our continuing efforts to suppress and eliminate covid-19 in Scotland, and a proximity app could be an extremely helpful augmentation of that programme.

Transcript of Exchange between Gillian Martin MSP and the First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon MSP in Parliament on 30th July 2020

Gillian Martin MSP

It’s clear that the Test and Protect system is key to our movement into the next phase, and to some kind of normality. Can the First Minister confirm if the Scottish Government is having discussions with the Irish and Northern Irish Governments in relation to their proximity Apps for contact tracing?

First Minister

Yes we are looking at that. I can say to the chamber today that work is underway, and at quite an advances stage, for us to have a proximity tracing App available in Scotland in the autumn using the same software as the Republic of Ireland App is using right now. I hope we’ll be able to confirm more details of that over the next couple of days and update the chamber in that way.

I think it’s important to say that proximity tracing Apps – and I’ve said this all along – may be a useful enhancement to Test and Protect, but it is not and never will be a substitute for the on-the-ground person-to-person approach to contact tracing. So, we do want to see if we can get that enhancement in place.

The Republic of Ireland App appears to have been very successful so far which is why we are keen – as I believe Northern Ireland is also doing right now – to see if we can utilise that. Of course, we’ll continue to have discussions with the UK Government, as well, about the development of their own technology.

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