Israel has proposed the use of tracking bracelets for incoming travelers as an alternative to mandatory quarantine. Travelers and returning Israelis who avail of the bracelets would be allowed to isolate themselves at their homes and accommodations instead of state quarantine facilities. However, authorities would be notified if in case people violate the mandatory isolation period.
The pilot for the so-called “freedom bracelet” program commenced on March 1. One hundred tracking bracelets were available for travelers arriving at the Ben Gurion Airport in the city of Lod. Prior to the program, incoming passengers have been forced to stay at quarantine hotels at government expense for two weeks to ensure that they are free from the Wuhan coronavirus before they could move around.
The system includes the electronic bracelet itself, a smartphone and a wall-mounted tracker. Those who avail of this system could skip the quarantine facility and spend their self-isolation at their homes or accommodations. Should people who avail of the bracelets violate a mandatory isolation period by removing the device or going too far from the monitor, Israeli authorities would be immediately alerted.
Forty-four-year-old Alejandro Quil told Reuters that his family explicitly requested for the bracelet. He proudly wore the slim, lightweight and waterproof device on his wrist. “It’s great for us so we won’t have to go to a hotel. [We can] do the quarantine at home as it should be,” Quil commented.
Israeli tracking technology firm SuperCom noted that “there is potential for the pilot to quickly expand into a project consisting of thousands of units for more wide-scale use.” The firm responsible for the tracking bracelet technology added that its offering could assist in quarantine compliance in Israel.
Prior to adopting SuperCom’s tracking bracelets, the Israeli government began using security surveillance technology to monitor COVID-19 infections. It utilized surveillance systems from the Israeli Security Agency in March 2020 when infections began to spike.
Israel has just ended its third national lockdown related to the coronavirus, which lasted almost two months. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu first announced the lockdown Jan. 8 after the more contagious B117 coronavirus strain entered the country. Thus, Israel is restricting certain services to people who have been completely vaccinated against COVID-19. (Related: Israeli authorities to lock down country for the THIRD time despite a coronavirus vaccination drive.)
People who have completed the doses of the COVID-19 vaccine would be given a “green pass.” This pass would let them move around the country, enter different establishments and avail certain services. Those who choose not to get immunized against the Wuhan coronavirus would find their movements still restricted even after completing the mandatory quarantine period. Concerns have been raised regarding unequal treatment stemming from this policy.
According to the Israeli Ministry of Health, nearly 3.2 million Israelis were eligible for the green pass as of Feb. 21. Included in this number are the 2.5 million individuals who got their second dose more than a week before and the 700,000 people who recovered from COVID-19.
The use of the tracking bracelet was somewhat similar to an instance that occurred in the U.S. in August last year. Oakland University in Michigan initially required students to wear the BioButton medical tracking device to keep track of any potential COVID-19 symptoms. The coin-sized BioButton monitored temperature, breathing and heartbeat through a smartphone app and would notify users through an algorithm if they could attend class.
At first, the tracking device was mandatory for students – with the educational institution providing the button free of charge. But university administrators walked back on the rule after students objected to it and called for making the BioButton optional.
Head over to MedicalTyranny.com to read more about the use of mandatory tracking devices to monitor COVID-19 cases.