More details have been set out about the coronavirus proximity tracing app being developed for Scotland and the technology involved to inform its users.
The software is voluntary and will not ask people for personal information, instead using Bluetooth technology to anonymously alert them if they have been in close contact with another user who has tested positive for Covid-19.
It is hoped the app will be available by the autumn via Apple and Google app stores and will work alongside existing contact tracing.
The Scottish Government has said discussions with the UK Government on its proximity app are continuing to ensure the systems work together across common travel areas.
Health Secretary Jeane Freeman said: “This new app will offer an additional level of protection, supporting NHS Scotland’s Test and Protect system to continue to drive down the spread of Covid-19 across the country.
“It builds on existing person-to-person contact tracing which remains the most robust method of contacting those who have been in close contact with someone who has tested positive.
“Users of the app who test positive will still get a call from a contact tracer to confirm their details and who they have been in close contact with.
“The app will, however, allow contacts unknown to the positive individual to be traced – for example fellow passengers on a train or bus.
“We also know that not everyone uses a mobile phone or will be able to access the app, which is why this software is very much there to complement existing contact tracing methods.”
The Scottish contact tracing app will use the same software as the one in the Republic of Ireland.
The Irish Government revealed in May its plans to develop a national app for contact tracing and real-time symptom tracking, with Covid Tracker then released for free in July.
It alerts people if they have been in close contact with someone who has tested positive for coronavirus and gives advice on protection.
Speaking about the app on Thursday, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said: “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 is not and never will be a substitute for the on the ground person-to-person approach to contact tracing.
“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 will continue to have discussions with the UK Government as well about the development of their own technology.”