Arabian Business: The Ministry of Health and Prevention launched a nationwide campaign to encourage people to download the UAE’s official Covid-19 testing and contact tracing app - Alhosn UAE - which it says will help protect people in the country.
While hundreds of thousands of people in the UAE have already downloaded the Alhosn UAE app, the ministry hopes the campaign will encourage every citizen and resident to use the app as it relies on a high number of subscribers to ensure effectiveness.
“The success of this app hinges on the level of usage by our people and how many are using it, which means that its objective won’t be achieved unless 50-70 percent of the UAE population would download and use it in an effective way," Dr Farida Al Hosani, official spokesperson for the UAE health sector.
"Alhosn is our fast-track ticket to curb the spread and our protective shield against any future pandemics," she added.
Contact tracing, which has been used to successfully control the spread of infectious diseases around the world - including Ebola, SARS, and MERS - works by identifying people who have come in to contact with a person tested positive for Covid-19, even if they did not know they had it at the time.
The contacts are notified and supported through a period of isolation and quarantine, during which they either develop symptoms or the period of risk passes.
Alhosn app, developed in the UAE, is a combination of StayHome and Trace Covid, two apps that were previously launched by the Department of Health. The ministry said the app “guarantees high degree of privacy protection to the users through artificial intelligence and other technological advances”. The app uses Bluetooth to pick up signals from nearby mobile phones that also have the app installed.
Dr Al Hosani explained, “If a person tests positive, he/she will be requested to download secure coding signals over his/her phone to trace down his/her contacts over the previous 21 days in order to identify them.
"Technology speeds up every aspect of the contact-tracing process, from identifying and notifying contacts, to monitoring and support. But we cannot win this battle individually. Only through collective action can we contain the spread of Covid-19.”
As part of new measures introduced ahead of Eid, the UAE increased fines issued for a number of Covid-19 related offences.
Two related to the Alhosn app and are applicable to those who have been diagnosed with the coronavirus. A fine of AED10,000 will be issued for those who refuse to download the app, and AED20,000 for those who try to tamper with tracking device or app installed by authorities.