Bahrain to Use Electronic Wristbands to Monitor COVID-19 Patients in Quarantine

Bahrain using covid 19 wristbands
Image credit: Credit: Kingdom of Bahrain Ministry of Health

The Kingdom of Bahrain is using wearable technology to keep track of people with Covid-19 and to ensure their isolation. The Gulf Kingdom said it will use smart wristbands that alert authorities of rogue escapees.

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“Self-isolating individuals are obliged to wear the electronic bracelet that will notify the monitoring station when they are 15 meters away from their phone, in which case a warning will be sent,” Information and eGovernment Authority (iGA) Chief Executive Mohammed Ali Al Qaed said.

On 21 February 2020, Bahrain confirmed the first COVID-19 cases, and as of today, the kingdom reported 1,087 confirmed cases and 6 deaths.

Attempting to remove or tamper with the bracelet is a violation and officials confirmed the bracelet is waterproof, reports GulfNews.

“Violators will face legal penalties as per Public Health Law No. 34 for the year 2018, potentially being sentenced to imprisonment for a period not less than 3 months and a fine between BD1,000 (Dh9,700) and BD10,000, or either of the two penalties,” he said.

Mohammad Ali, head of electronic government, told Bahraini News Agency that every person confined to their home or to government quarantine centers will have to wear the device, and those who break quarantine face either a minimum of three months in jail, a fine ranging from 1,000 Bahraini dinars (US$ 2,635) to 10,000 dinars (US $26,355), or a combination of both.

Manama skyline
Manama, Bahrain (Image: Wadiia, Wikimedia Commons)

People fitted with the bracelets should not stray more than 15 meters away from their mobile phone. While their movements can be tracked through their phones, the new measure prevents quarantine violators from escaping detection by leaving their phones at home or in the quarantine center when they go out.

The bracelets are compatible with the COVID-19 contact tracing application, ‘BeAware’, launched last month by Bahrain to advance contact-tracing efforts and raise awareness of active cases within the Kingdom, the GulfNews report said.

The application can pinpoint contact tracing cases and alert individuals in the event they approach an active case or a location where an active case has visited or passed by.

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“iGA will guide users through the app and all of its features, which requires users to ensure their smart devices are charged and that their location services, Bluetooth, GPS and internet connection is on. iPhone users will need to ensure that the ‘Allow Location Access’ is set at ‘Always’,” Al Qaed said.

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Cathy Russey () is Online Editor at WT | Wearable Technologies and specialized in writing about the latest medical wearables and enabling technologies on the market. Cathy can be contacted at info(at)wearable-technologies.com.