Scotland’s proximity contact tracing app has hit one million downloads a week after its launch, it was revealed today.
The Protect Scotland app, being used in the fight against Covid-19, crossed the major milestone shortly after 10am this morning.
Welcoming the news, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said ‘thanks a million’ to everyone who had installed the Bluetooth technology on their smartphones, just seven days after launch.
She said: “Thanks a MILLION everyone. Please keep spreading the word – the more of us who download protect.scot the more effective our fight against COVID.”
National Clinical Director Jason Leitch added: “Well done Scotland. It’s a great start. A million downloads in a week. The more downloads, the safer the system so please keep telling your friends and families.”
Sturgeon revealed in First Minister’s Questions at Holyrood today that more than 100 people have been told to isolate as a result of downloading the app via Apple’s App Store or Google Play Store.
She said: “One million is already a big enough number for us to know that the app can make a difference and I can advise that more than 100 people have been advised to isolate as a result of using it.”
Health Secretary Jeane Freeman said: “In only one week since it was launched, more than 1,000,000 people have now downloaded the Protect Scotland app, which will really help Scotland in the fight against COVID-19. One million is a big enough number for us to know already that the app can make a difference — so far, more than 100 people have been advised to isolate as a result of using it, and 300 contacts traced. It’s completely secure and keeps your data protected. It is a simple but important way that is already helping us protect people in Scotland.
“I want to thank every person who has helped us in this way and encourage everyone who can to download the Protect Scotland app. You will make a difference.”
The Scottish Government said that more than 300 people who have tested positive for Covid-19 – and have the app – were issued with a test code so they can alert other users about their result.
The app does not store details on an individual or their location but uses encrypted, anonymised codes exchanged between smartphones to determine all close contacts. Close contacts are defined as people who have been within two metres – of someone who has tested positive – for 15 minutes.
Designed by software developers NearForm for NHS Scotland, as revealed last week, the app uses the same technology as the Republic of Ireland and Northern Irish proximity tracing apps.
Sign up is entirely voluntary but “strongly recommended” for those with compatible smartphones, which are Apple iPhones 6S and above and Android 6.0 and above.
Contact tracing has been performed manually up until now with a network of call handlers telephoning people who have tested positive for coronavirus, and asked to self-isolate. The tech-based system was described in the Programme for Government as a measure to enhance and support NHS Test and Protect.