Scottish server to allow cross-border contact-tracing

11 November 2020


A Scottish federated server will now allow the various UK Covid-19 contact-tracing apps to become interoperable, tackling one of the key criticisms levelled at the technologies since they began to launch.
Scotland has developed a federated server that will allow for all Covid-19 contact-tracing apps in the UK, Crown Dependencies and Gibraltar to become interoperable.

Users of the Protect Scotland contact-tracing app will now be able to continue using it as they travel to Northern Ireland or Jersey. Protect Scotland will be able to interoperate with Northern Ireland’s StopCOVID NI and the Jersey COVID Alert app, and users of all three who have been in close proximity of each one another will be able to receive notifications of Covid-19 exposure.

An agreement has been reached so that the NHS COVID-19 app used in England and Wales and the Beat COVID Gibraltar app will join the same federated contact-tracing server in early November.

App users who travel between territories will not need to do anything to make this interoperability work, other than keep their existing app active.

Limited travel still paramount

Citizens are still being urged to travel between territories only for essential reasons, regardless of whether their contact-tracing app will now work or not.

In a statement, Scottish Health Secretary Jeane Freeman said: “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. There will be no need to download the Northern Irish or Jersey app, instead the Protect Scotland app will speak to those apps behind the scenes.”

The Scottish server has the potential to make it easier for other apps elsewhere in Europe and further afield to also work with Protect Scotland in the future.

“Agreement has been reached with England and Wales for the NHS Covid-19 app to become compatible in the coming weeks and we are working to ensure Protect Scotland is compatible with other European apps over time,” Freeman said.

Published by on October 28, 2020

Image by Shutterstock


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