Protect Scotland application will be ‘extra piece of armour’

The Protect Scotland application is expected to be announced in the next few days.

By Caitlyn Dewar
Monday, 7th September 2020, 10:23 am

The proximity app for tracing coronavirus contacts is an "extra piece of armour" which will be "very private", Scotland's national clinical director has said.

Jason Leitch said the launch of the Protect Scotland application is expected to be announced in the next few days.

It aims to allow tracing of a wider range of contacts by using mobile phones to detect who has been in close proximity with a positive case.

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First Minister Nicola Sturgeon previously described it as a "major enhancement" to the contact-tracing system.

Mr Leitch was asked about the app on the BBC's Good Morning Scotland radio programme on Monday.

He said: "We've got to just dot some Is and cross some Ts but we're hopeful that, in the next few days, we'll be able to announce that it's happening, what exactly it is and how people will be able to get it.

"It will be very private, it won't track you, it won't hold the data of where you've been or who you've been with.

"But what it will do is it will add an extra tool, an extra piece of the armour, to fix that Test and Protect system, to allow us to get the positive cases who are in touch and don't know each other.

"So perhaps on transportation or hospitality, where you're not sure who's next to you or who's beside you."

He said the recent increase in cases was mainly among younger people, but stressed that the virus still poses a risk.

Mr Leitch said: "That's probably the only good news of this little curve that you see.

"So far, this is relatively young people, relatively healthy people, and we haven't seen a corresponding increase - like we saw in March and April - of hospitalisations and intensive care admissions."

He added: "We know the virus isn't becoming less potent, unfortunately.

"I hope one day that will be true, but the geneticists who analyse the virus almost daily looking for such a mutation unfortunately tell us that it is staying roughly the same, which is good for a vaccine, bad for the illness."