Covid-19 Lockdown: Next Steps

Part of the debate – in the Scottish Parliament on 21st May 2020.

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The First Minister:

The answer is yes to both those questions, although work is still on-going on the latter question. Public health experts are used to dealing with infections across borders, which will be particularly important given the geography that Colin Smyth asked about.

When a person tests positive on one side of a border, there will be contact tracing on the other side, although a different organisation might do it. Integration and collaboration are important and are already well established when it comes to dealing with such issues.

On the technology—forgive me, as I am not an expert on all the fine details—as I have explained, the Scottish test and protect system will have its own digital system. That will be for use by contact tracers and, as soon as possible, for people to use as a way into the system. It is important that it is integrated with our standing health systems. Work is on-going to do that.

In addition, we have been in discussions with the UK Government about the proximity app, which we want to be able to use. We do not yet know exactly how it is going to be rolled out, but as well as needing to be confident about how the app works, we need to ensure that it is integrated with systems that we use in Scotland. I think—although I might be wrong—that English health trusts will also want to make sure of such integration.

Discussions are on-going, and I am advised that they are progressing well. I will continue to keep members updated.