Nicola Sturgeon has urged Scots to continue using the Protect Scotland app, which can identify close contacts of coronavirus cases, saying it plays an important role in containing the virus.
The First Minister also said the proximity app was no less sensitive than its equivalent in England, despite reports it is “pinging” fewer people than the NHS app south of the border.
England and Wales use the NHS Covid-19 app, while Scotland and Northern Ireland have separate apps.
At the weekend, the Sunday Post newspaper reported that almost 14,000 users had deactivated Protect Scotland in the past 12 weeks – a figure which does not include those who deleted it from their phones.
As of July 12, there had been 2,061,178 downloads of Protect Scotland with the number of contact notifications at 56,460.
More than 500,000 people in England and Wales were notified by the NHS app to self-isolate in the week up to July 1.
The First Minister was asked about Protect Scotland’s sensitivity at the coronavirus briefing on Tuesday, where she said she was not aware of any differences with the NHS app.
She told the PA news agency: “Test and Protect is there as part of our defence and the app is a part of Test and Protect – it helps quickly and easily let you know if you’ve been a close contact of somebody with the virus
“So it’s a really, really important thing that everybody should have on their phone and keep on their phone.
“I know there’s lots of angst just now, and I understand because this is hugely disruptive to people’s lives, about ‘pingdemics’.
“It’s not the app that’s causing the problem, it’s the virus that’s causing the problem.”
She added: “I would ask people to continue to stick with this, just as we’re asking people to stick with things more generally.”
Deputy chief medical officer Dr Nicola Steedman said there were some “subtle differences” between Protect Scotland and the NHS app.
A different type of calculation was used for proximity contacts, she said, but it was no less sensitive.
Dr Steedman said there had been reports that some people who had tested positive had been reluctant to put their details into Protect Scotland and have their contacts pinged.
She said: “Please, please, please don’t hesitate to do that.
“The app is there for a good reason, it is there to let people know that they might have been at risk.”
Dr Steedman stressed that the app was anonymous and decentralised.
On Tuesday, the UK Government said it was “crucial” that people self-isolate when identified by the NHS app.
This contradicted an earlier statement from business minister Paul Scully, who suggested people could make an “informed decision” on the matter.
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