First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has announced that the Protect Scotland COVID-19 phone app looks set to be able to function in England and Wales from next month.

South Scotland MSP Colin Smyth, whose constituency is home to many residents who travel daily across the border, has been pressing the Scottish Government to make sure the apps are compatible.

Speaking during Wednesday’s daily Covid-19 press conference, the First Minister said the Protect Scotland app now works in both Northern Ireland and Jersey.

It will be able to handle information from other apps from England and Wales in due course, she says and should be able to function in England, Wales and Gibraltar from next month.

Colin Smyth said: “I’m pleased the Government has listened to concerns over the incompatibility between the Scottish and English apps. This announcement is long overdue, but the Protect Scotland and English test and trace apps should have been compatible with each other right from the start. It is completely inexcusable on the part of both the UK and Scottish Governments that they didn’t work together before now to make that happen.

“I raised my fears with the First Minister over having two separate apps in May and Nicola Sturgeon gave me an assurance both systems would be compatible with each other.

“I am furious that it has taken almost six months for this to be rectified.

“Is it yet another example of the complete breakdown in communication between our two Governments in the battle against Covid-19.

“With so many people in border communities travelling between Scotland and England every day for work, health, education and leisure, the UK and Scottish Governments must wise up to the fact that decisions they both make will impact on people living on both sides of the border.

“It is just not good enough that once again border communities have been completely forgotten and overlooked by both governments.”

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