Monklands residents are being urged to download the new Protect Scotland contact-tracing app for Covid-19.
Its launch coincided with today’s announcement by the First Minister of a tightening of coronavirus restrictions – including restricting gatherings to a maximum of six people from two households, whether indoors or out, and making face coverings mandatory for hospitality customers and staff when not eating or drinking.
A total of 46 new positive cases in the NHS Lanarkshire area, and 161 across Scotland, were confirmed by Nicola Sturgeon as she shared the outcome of the latest three-weekly review of the lockdown routemap at the Scottish Parliament this afternoon.
Nicola Sturgeon confirmed that Scotland is likely to remain in phase three of the route map “for some time yet” until “the virus is no longer considered a significant threat to public health; this is definitely not the case”.
Future changes including the reopening of indoor soft play, theatres and live music venues, indoor contact sports for over-12s and the return of spectators to sports venues – previously given an earliest-possible indicative date of this Monday – are on hold due to the rise in cases across the country for a minimum of another three weeks.
The First Minister said the decision had “not been taken lightly”, and added: “The pause in our routemap and the new restrictions I have outlined today are not welcome. The Scottish Government did not want to have to impose them, but they are necessary.”
With the new Protect Scotland app having been downloaded more than 200,000 times in just over half a day, Airdrie MSP Alex Neil is now urging local residents to join those installing the technology, which automatically alerts users if they have come into close contact with someone who has tested positive for Covid-19.
Mr Neil said: “The proximity tracing app, to help stop the spread of the Covid-19 virus and complement the person-to-person approach of Test and Protect, takes less than a minute to download.
“It will allow us to alert people at risk far more quickly, so that we can all take steps to reduce the risk of infecting others – it will help us all to protect ourselves, our family, friends and community by enabling faster contact tracing.
“The more people who have the app, the more it can help to slow the spread of coronavirus, which is why I’m urging people in Airdrie & Shotts to download it.”
He added: “No personal identifiable information will be entered on the app and the Scottish Government has assured that it will not monitor the location of individuals, as the app uses Bluetooth technology, and not GPS, to identify contacts.”
Constituency counterpart Neil Gray MP also praised the new technology, which will send an automatic alert and public health advice by push notification if proximity is established between a user and someone who has tested positive.
He said: “Even though there are restrictions in place, we may not know everyone we are in contact with so this app is a great tool in the fight against Covid 19.
“The fact that you do not need to enter any personal details means that there is none of the Big Brother fears that usually go along with things of this nature.
“I would urge everyone to download it and share the link with family, friends and colleagues – the better data we have, the faster we can beat this virus.”