Coronavirus: smart bands introduced to monitor patients in self-isolation

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Hind Al Soulia - Riyadh - Health authorities in the UAE are using smart wristbands to track and monitor patients as they self-quarantine at home.

These devices are only used for asymptomatic patients or those with milder symptoms, who do not require to be taken to hospital.

Patients between the ages of 18 and 59 who meet a set criteria can be allowed by medics to self-isolate in their homes.

The patient is expected to be aware of the importance of home isolation and ready to follow a treatment plan, if advised. An independent room with good ventilation and a separate toilet, and access to a smartphone are the other requirements.

“Tracing or monitoring bracelets are smart watches that serve as a tool to allow those who have been tested positive to self-isolate in the safety of their home and more importantly those who meet Department of Health and Abu Dhabi Public Health Centre Home Isolation Programme standards and regulations,” said a representative of the Department of Health Abu Dhabi.

“The programme applies to Covid-19 cases if the patient is asymptomatic or shows mild symptoms and has no risk factors. The patients will be given the home isolation instructions. An electronic monitoring watch will be tied to him or her for tele-monitoring purposes, along with the DoH Stay Home app.”

The patients cannot remove or tamper with these tracking wristbands, which should only be taken off by a medic once the patient has fully recovered.

Last month, Salem Al Zaabi, acting chief prosecutor of the Emergencies and Disasters Prosecution in the federal public prosecution, said those who defy the rules will face strict penalties.

"Anyone, who does not install or register in the Covid-19 tracing app on purpose and anyone who causes damage to the electronic bracelet or causes its malfunction, shall pay a Dh10,000 fine with the repair costs," he said.

Patients with severe symptoms and underlying health conditions are not allowed to isolate at home.

An employee at International Airport walks past a poster reminding passengers to keep a safe distance from each other, after the resumption of scheduled operations by Emirates on May 22. Karim Sahib / AFP

People wear face masks as they play football in the grassy area outside the closed Zabeel park in Dubai. Pawan Singh / The National

Passengers of an Emirates flight prepare to board a plan to Sydney at Dubai International Airport. Karim Sahib / AFP

Workers wear face masks as they buy food from. asupermarket oin Abu Dhabi. Victor Besa / The National

A man carries a sack of onions at Al Mina Vegetables and Fruits Market in Abu Dhabi. Victor Besa / The National

Al Wadha Mall in Abu Dhabi reopens with measures in place to protect shoppers. Victor Besa / The National

Al Wadha Mall in Abu Dhabi reopens with measures in place to protect shoppers. Victor Besa / The National

Visitors wear face masks while snowboarding at Ski Dubai, which reopened on May 27 along with cinemas, gyms and other entertainment venues. Mahmoud Khaled / EPA

Beach-goers lie on lounge chairs by the shoreline near Burj Al Arab hotel in Dubai on May 20, as Covid-19 measures are eased. Karim Sahib / AFP

A Jumeirah Al Naseem hotel staff member waits to greet guests in Dubai as safety measures are eased. Karim Sahib / AFP

People eat at a restaurant in Dubai as measures begin to ease.However, precautions are still. inplace to protect diners. Karim Sahib / AFP

Stickers are placed along aisles at a supermarket in Dubai marking safe distances for shoppers to maintain to slow the spread of the coronavirus pandemic. AFPo

Officers man Dubai Plice's Command and Control Centre amid the coronavirus outbreak. Karim Sahib / AFP

“High risk patients such as people above 60, people with chronic, cardiac or respiratory diseases, those who suffer from serious diseases that may affect their immunity system and others who require direct healthcare support are not eligible for the home-stay programme,” said the representative of the department.

Authorities have urged Emiratis and residents to download Al Hosn, an app that helps stop widespread infections by helping authorities track potential Covid-19 patients.

Coronavirus outbreak

Al Hosn uses Bluetooth signals to detect if the carrier has come into contact with someone who may pose a risk of infection and has the app downloaded too.

“The monitoring watches are for those who have been tested positive and are in self-quarantine at home, whereas the Al Hosn app is available for the wider community,” the representative said.

However, the app can be effective only if 50 to 70 per cent of the population uses it, said Dr Farida Al Hosani, spokeswoman for the health sector.

"We advise you to use it as this is the fastest tool to beat the virus," she said.

“It is available in three languages so that the majority of the population can use it.”

The free app can be downloaded on Android and IOS devices.

Updated: June 3, 2020 03:46 PM

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