RESIDENTS in the Wee County are being urged to download a smartphone application to help suppress coronavirus.

The free Protect Scotland app is to enhance existing Test and Protect contact tracing measures.

It utilises Bluetooth technology to alert people if they have been within two metres for at least 15 minutes with another app user who has tested positive for Covid-19.

NHS Forth Valley is urging people to download the app.

Dr Graham Foster, director of public health at NHS Forth Valley, said: "The more people who download and use the app, the better it will work, helping make connections you may have otherwise missed.

"This will alert people to self-isolate far quicker if they are exposed to the virus, reducing the risk of them infecting others.

"We all have a part to play in suppressing the virus, and downloading the app, whilst following hygiene and distancing guidance will help protect you, your family and your community."

The health board has given assurances that users' privacy will be protected as the app uses encrypted anonymised codes to determine closed contacts.

These are deleted after 14 days and the app does not store details on an individual or their location.

MSP Keith Brown and MP John Nicolson both welcomed the launch of the app.

Mr Brown said: "Scotland's official contact tracing app will help us all to protect ourselves, our family, our friends and our community by enabling faster contact tracing.

"The more people who have the app, the more it can help to slow the spread of coronavirus.

"That's why I'm urging people in Clackmannanshire to download the app, and let's all protect Scotland."

The health board stressed that measures such as face coverings, avoiding crowded places, cleaning hands and surfaces, physical distancing and self-isolating with symptoms remain vital.

MP Nicolson added: "Fighting Covid is proving to be a long, tough battle for us all.

"The Scottish Government's new app will save lives.

"Please download it as soon as you can."

The Protect Scotland app is available from the Apple and Google stores.

People can also visit protect.scotfor more information.