People who have tested positive for the coronavirus in the UAE and those who came into contact with infected individuals are required to wear an electronic wristband linked to the COVID-19 testing and tracing app Alhosn, state news agency WAM reported on Saturday.
Failure to wear the electronic wristband, which is provided by the testing center, and failure to install and use the app will incur a fine of 10,000 dirhams ($2,723). This applies to people who tested positive for COVID-19 or those who were informed that they had close contact with an infected individual, both will be required to self-isolate.
There are 2 cases that require home quarantine – (1) you tested positive for COVID-19 or (2) you had a close contact to someone who tested positive. In both cases, you must stay home and self-isolate until your next test. You will be fined AED50,000 if you break home quarantine. pic.twitter.com/K3TLRyTo97— Al Hosn App (@AlHosnApp) May 22, 2020
The electronic wristband will be removed after two negative COVID-19 tests.
According to the application’s website, it is not mandatory to download Alhosn. However, officials urge everyone in the UAE to download the app.
Government officials had earlier in the week started a nationwide campaign to encourage people to download the application, which was first launched on April 26.
“Alhosn is our fast-track ticket to curb the spread and our protective shield against any future pandemics,” said Dr. Farida Al Hosani, official spokesperson for the UAE health sector.
To curb the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic, we need to stand united against it, with everyone in the UAE contributing to this responsibility. This is a fight where our weapon is our unity and our shield is @AlHosnApp. Download today. Protecting yourself protects your community. pic.twitter.com/WMyzmTXDzm— Al Hosn App (@AlHosnApp) May 23, 2020
The application is the official digital platform through which people in the UAE can receive the results of their COVID-19 tests.
“It can also detect if the user has been in close proximity to people who have had contact with others infected with the COVID-19 virus, provided that they too have the same app downloaded on their phones. The detection can happen after the user activates his phone’s Bluetooth function,” according to the government’s information website.
“Every user who downloads the app will have a unique QR code, which would contain information about the user’s health. The app is encrypted, and the data remains on the user's phone. Through this data, the competent health authorities can identify people who can transmit the virus and who could be at a risk of contracting the virus. They can then communicate with those at risk and re-test them.”
The application can be downloaded from the Google Play Store for android phones (https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=doh.health.shield&hl=en) and from the Apple Store for iOS phones (https://apps.apple.com/us/app/alhosn-uae/id1505380329?ign-mpt=uo%3D2).
Registration using an individual’s Emirates ID and phone number is required to use the application.
Apps to fight coronavirus in the UAE
The UAE health authorities have also launched other mobile applications to help contain the spread of the coronavirus.
The Department of Health (DOH) in Abu Dhabi launched the TraceCovid app which detects other devices that have the same app downloaded on the device and shares proximity data with it.
“When two users who have installed the TraceCovid app come in contact with one another, a ‘Secure Tracing Identifier’ (STI) is exchanged and stored in their respective phones. This STI list contains the records of individuals that a user had close contact with. If one of the users is infected with the virus, the relevant authorities will be able to access the user’s data and timestamp and reach out to possibly infected individuals easily.”
This application helps track COVID-19 cases by automatically recording a list of all the individuals who had been near a coronavirus infected individual. It also uses a phone’s Bluetooth function to determine a user’s exact location.
The application can be downloaded from the Google Play Store for android phones (https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=ae.tracecovid.app) and from the Apple Store for iOS phones (https://apps.apple.com/sg/app/tracecovid/id1505485835).
The DOH had also launched the StayHome app which ensures that those who were directed to self-quarantine are complying with the mandatory isolation.
“Through the app, a quarantined person can share his self-quarantine status and his location with Department of Health - Abu Dhabi (DOH). DOH can send alerts to quarantined people to stay within the range of movement allowed during the quarantine period.”
When an individual is required to quarantine at home, DOH will issue him or her a username and password for the application.
“The quarantined person must enable the app’s access to camera, media, location, audio and calls for the app to work effectively. DOH will periodically send notifications to the quarantined person asking him to check in to his location then. The person has to take a photo of himself to finalize the check in.”
The application can be downloaded from the Google Play Store for android phones (https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=ae.haad.staysafe.stayathome&hl=en_US) and from the Apple Store for iOS phones (https://apps.apple.com/us/app/stayhome-app/id1504473226).