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Coronavirus / Government working on widening access to contact tracing app

LOCAL MSP Beatrice Wishart has received assurances that the new Test and Protect Scotland app will also become available for people with older smartphones.

More than 800,000 people in Scotland have downloaded the app since its launch last week, but at the moment the contact tracing app is only available for those with iPhones capable of running iOS 13.5 or all Android phones released since 2015.

Shetland MSP Beatrice Wishart. Photo: Shetland News

The success of the app depends on the amount of people using it, although there appears to be growing evidence that the app can act as a complement to other measures – with download rates of between 15 and 20 per cent of the population.

Speaking virtually in parliament on Tuesday Wishart asked health secretary Jeane Freeman what the government was doing to enable those with older smartphones to do their bit to help control the spread of Covid-19.

Freeman confirmed that developers were working to add functionality to the app so people with older phones would be able to download it.

She said: “People have contacted me to express their frustration that they can’t download the app because their smartphone doesn’t have a compatible operating system.

“Individuals want to do their bit to help stop the spread of the virus so I hope progress is made quickly to add functionality so the that the app is available to more people.

“The more people that can use the app the more useful it will be. Barriers to participation in public health initiatives should be reduced as much as possible.”

The app can be downloaded via this website: https://protect.scot