image Photo: Flash90

New Israeli quarantine option: tracking bracelets

Israel has already been a world leader in its vaccination campaign against the coronavirus, and now it may set a new standard in monitoring mandatory quarantines against further spread of the disease.

Israeli health authorities are now offering a new option to new immigrants or citizens returning home from abroad: the wearing of bracelet monitors instead of going to government-appointed hotels.

Until now, all incoming passengers have been forced to stay at public venues for up to two weeks to certify they are not infected with COVID-19. Unlike in other countries, the state pays full room and board for the occupants.

A pilot program has been launched which can allow exemption from the so-called quarantine hotels in lieu of self-isolation in the comfort of one’s own home.

The new system includes an electronic bracelet, a smartphone and a wall-mounted tracker to allow authorities to monitor compliance with the mandatory restrictions.

100 tracking kits were made available at Israel’s Ben Gurion International Airport, where traffic has dropped dramatically due to restrictions meant to reduce the risk of COVID-19 variants entering the country.

“We said we want it,” 44-year-old Alejandro Quil told Reuters, while wearing the slim, lightweight and waterproof bracelet on his wrist. “They gave us the service, it’s great for us so we won’t have to go to a hotel, so we will can do the quarantine at home as it should be.”

Authorities are alerted if the bracelet is removed, or the wearer or ventures over the permitted distance from the home monitor.

“There is potential for the pilot to quickly expand into a project consisting of thousands of units for more wide scale use to assist in quarantine compliance in Israel,” said a representative from SuperCom, the company behind the technology.