Scotland Launches Contact Tracing App With Apple and Google API

Grant Boone
September 12, 2020

When the app is installed, a user can then scan a QR code provided by a venue.

Other features of the United Kingdom app will include risk alerts letting people know the level of infection in their postcode and a symptom checker, which will help determine the likelihood that a user has Covid-19 and direct them to the nearest place to get a test.

In an effort to increase the effectiveness of NHS Track and Trace, the government announced this week that all indoor social venues are now legally required to request test and trace information from customers and keep this information for 21 days.

Health secretary Matt Hancock described the app's launch as "a defining moment" and said it will help to contain the virus "at a critical time".

The government pivoted the app to a decentralized architecture which means it's able to make use of exposure notification APIs offered by Apple and Google for official COVID-19 contacts tracing apps, avoiding the technical issues associated with iOS background Bluetooth detection.

The launch of the app follows the recent beginning of a trial of its second iteration on the Isle of Wight, followed up by roll out in the London Borough of Newham.

"The more people download and use the NHS COVID-19 app, the more it will help us to prevent the spread of COVID-19".

The app has a range of additional, enhanced features that will help to reduce personal and public risk from COVID-19 as part of the wider test and tracing services.

Matt Hancock's long-awaited coronavirus tracking app to rely on using QR codes

It also allows people to input their locations by scanning bar codes in pubs and restaurants. Working on a joint Wales and England basis is the most practical option here, as we know there is a lot of movement across our shared border.

"In time, though, the Moonshot could well be integrated with the app so that you can use the app to show that you have tested negative".

"The Welsh Government has worked closely with the NHS App team to ensure the app is easy-to-use and gives people the right advice and guidance, tailored to the country they reside in".

Aberdeenshire East MSP Gillian Martin has urged people to download the app.

People visiting a venue will check-in by scanning a QR code displayed at the entrance on their mobile phone which can in turn be used by NHS Test and Trace to contact them to tell them to self-isolate in the event of a COVID-19 outbreak.

A team of scientists, led by University College London, found such apps would need large-scale uptake by the population and support from other public health control measures to be successful.

The move comes ahead of launching the NHS COVID-19 app across Wales and England on Thursday 24 September.

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