Mon, 06 April 2020
In line with the directives of His Royal Highness Prince Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa, the Crown Prince, Deputy Supreme Commander and First Deputy Prime Minister to deploy emerging technologies to help mitigate the spread of the Coronavirus (COVID-19), the Information & eGovernment Authority (iGA), with the support of the Minister of Interior Shaikh Rashid bin Abdullah Al-Khalifa, has begun distributing electronic bracelets compatible with the Kingdom’s COVID-19 contact tracing app, 'BeAware'.
The application complements the efforts of the National Taskforce for Combating the Coronavirus to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 by advancing contact tracing efforts to swiftly identify and keep track of all active cases and their contacts.
The iGA Chief Executive, Mohammed Ali Al Qaed, noted that the application is an example of how Bahrain is leveraging technology to safeguard the well-being of citizen and residents.
The bracelet supports the Ministry of Health's mandate to address public health concerns during the global pandemic. “The decision issued by HE the Minister of Health, Faeqa bint Saed Al Saleh, obliges self-isolating individuals 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,” he said.
“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 and BD10,000, or either one of the two penalties,” he added.
Self-isolating individuals using the application must identify their isolation location, in most cases their home, by selecting “Set Home Location” upon arrival. Users can correct location information by calling 444.
In addition, Ministry of Health officials may randomly send picture requests to which self-isolating individuals must respond with a photo that clearly shows their face and bracelet.
Al Qaed added that the Authority 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’.
Attempting to remove or tamper with the bracelet is a violation and officials confirmed the bracelet is waterproof. Self-isolating individuals are also required to schedule a COVID-19 test date 3 days prior to the end of their self-isolation period by calling 444 or visiting the Ministry of Health’s website.