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Scotland, Northern Ireland and Jersey make Covid apps interoperable


The coronavirus tracing apps for Scotland, Northern Ireland and Jersey are now able to work in all three areas, with the equivalents for England and Wales and Gibraltar due to follow in November.

The four UK nations, the Crown dependencies and Gibraltar have signed an agreement on interoperability that aims to reduce the need for people to install multiple contact tracing apps.

In the agreement’s first phase from 28 October, this means that the Protect Scotland, StopCovid NI and Jersey Covid Alert apps will automatically work together. If a user of the Scottish app tested positive after visiting Northern Ireland, any users of the StopCovid NI app who had been in close proximity to that person would be alerted.

Users do not need to change the app but must leave it in active operation.

“While people are being advised to travel less at the moment, this compatibility will allow those having to travel for essential reasons to continue to be alerted via the Protect Scotland app if they have been in close contact with a positive Covid-19 case while in Northern Ireland or Jersey,” said Scottish health secretary Jeane Freeman.

Others to join

The Scottish Government added that England and Wales’ NHS Covid-19 and the Beat Covid Gibraltar apps are due to join the scheme in early November. It has set up a federated server to allow interoperability and is looking at introducing collaboration with apps used elsewhere in Europe.

Protect Scotland has been downloaded 1.5 million times so far.

Northern Ireland was the first part of the UK to launch a contact tracing app and StopCovid NI is interoperable with the one used in the Republic of Ireland. Almost 490,000 have downloaded it.

The Jersey Covid Alert app, which was launched on 14 October, has been downloaded by 35,500 people so far.

Earlier this month, developers of the English app revealed plans to make it interoperable with those from other countries, saying it would reduce the risk of travelling abroad.

Image from GOV.UK, Open Government Licence v3.0

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