Al Hosn App
Al Hosn app, the official platform that tracks COVID-19 screenings in the UAE, has been announced as the country’s national vaccine registry. Image Credit: Supplied

Abu Dhabi: Al Hosn app, the official platform that has thus far tracked COVID-19 screenings in the UAE, has been announced as the country’s national vaccine registry.

The app, which runs on Apple and Android mobile devices, was accordingly updated to include details of residents’ vaccine doses. Given that the UAE has vaccinated more than half its population against COVID-19, including more than 70 per cent of the elderly and residents with chronic diseases, the update is especially timely.

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Developed as a joint initiative between the Ministry of Health and Prevention, Department of Health — Abu Dhabi (DoH) and Dubai Health Authority, Al Hosn was launched on April 25, 2020. Dr Farida Al Hosani, official spokesperson for the UAE’s health sector, had then urged residents to download the app, saying it would help trace COVID-19 cases and flatten the curve.

Here is all you need to know about the app as it becomes a comprehensive registry detailing the UAE’s fight against COVID-19:

Where is Al Hosn app available for download?

Since the start, Al Hosn has been available for download on both iOS AppStore and Android PlayStore. It is about 36MB in size on both the operating systems.

What is needed to use Al Hosn app?

After downloading the app, you have to authenticate your identity with your Emirates ID and phone number, then enter the one-time password sent to your mobile device. You must also turn on the Bluetooth and push notifications and the app will continue to run in the background.

In what languages is the app available?

The app is currently available in Arabic, English and Hindi.

What exactly does the app do?

Al Hosn app can detect if you have been in proximity to people who have been diagnosed with COVID-19 or to people who have had contact with others infected with COVID-19. It uses short-distance Bluetooth signals to determine this, using the app on your phone and apps on the phones or mobile devices of other users. Both phones then exchange anonymised IDs, which are then stored in encrypted form on your phone. Using the stored anonymised IDs, health authorities can quickly identify and contact people at risk of infection so they can be retested if needed. For security purposes, the app is encrypted and the data remains only on the user’s phone.

Every user who downloads the app will have a unique QR code that is periodically updated. The QR code contains information about the user’s health.

In terms of user features, the app allows you to check your COVID-19 testing results and view details about your vaccination status.

Why do I need Al Hosn app?

As the official platform for COVID-19 records, Al Hosn chronicles the results of all your COVID-19 screenings taken in the UAE. And even though you will receive COVID-19 screening results via SMS, it is the Al Hosn record that is today accepted as definitive proof for official purposes.

Here are some of the instances when you might need to show the record of your COVID-19 screening on Al Hosn:

Entry into Abu Dhabi: Entry is only permitted if you can prove your COVID-19 negative status with a valid (taken within the specified validity period for the particular test type) result on your Al Hosn app at the emirate’s borders.

Access to various events: Increasingly, more and more events require attendees to present proof of their COVID-19 negative status on Al Hosn.

Access to schools: In Abu Dhabi, parents must present proof of their COVID-19 negative status on Al Hosn before being allowed to enter school premises.

Proof of vaccination: Under its expanded role, it is the proof of vaccination on Al Hosn that is accepted officially if you wish to show that you have received a COVID-19 vaccine dose, or are fully vaccinated, i.e., received both doses of a COVID-19 vaccine and completed 28 days after the second dose.

Can I have more than one person’s details on my Al Hosn app?

Al Hosn allows users to input the details of more than one person. In this case, a list of all the people and their Emirates IDs will show when the app is first opened. You will have to click on a person’s name to see their individual testing and vaccination record.

What are the latest changes to Al Hosn after it has been allocated as the national vaccine registry?

Previously, Al Hosn showed vaccination status with a gold star (for those who participated in UAE COVID-19 vaccine trials) or the letter ‘E’. This was conferred after a person had received both doses of the vaccine and completed 28 days after the second dose.

Now, the app includes complete details of your vaccination status, including how many COVID-19 vaccine doses you have received, which vaccine was taken and on what dates.

It is now also possible to generate and share an official vaccination report.

Where does the app show all this information?

A number of elements show up on each person’s personal screen, which can be accessed by clicking on a person’s name on the home screen.

1. Personal details, including your picture, full name — according to your Emirates ID — and your Emirates ID number.

2. Vaccination status: If you are fully vaccinated, the screen has another line of text in yellow stating this, with the date of the second vaccine dose. This also includes a gold star, or the letter E.

3. QR code: This is the regularly updated QR code — typically every ten minutes, along with your COVID-19 status, either positive or negative. It also shows if the test result has expired (as in Negative — Expired), which means that a PCR test has been taken more than seven days ago.

an official vaccination card-1616909639024
An example of the digital certificate on the Al Hosn app. Image Credit: Screengrab

The colour of the QR code is also an indicator of your health on Al Hosn

Red: COVID-19 positive

Bright green: COVID-19 negative, with PCR test taken within the last seven days.

Grey: COVID-19 negative, but with no PCR test taken within the last seven days.

4. Vaccination status: With the tag ‘For medical use only’, the app now includes details about your vaccine doses, the date they were taken and which vaccine was given.

5. Previous COVID-19 test results: These are listed below, along with the type of test taken — DPI or PCR, the date on which it was taken and the result.

What can you do with the information presented on Al Hosn?

You can download the app-presented COVID-19 test and vaccination results, or you can share them via an email or messaging client.

The app also allows you to download official certificates, in PDF form, for both COVID-19 tests and vaccinations. This includes the information in both English and Arabic, with official letterheads. The vaccination card also includes details of the vaccination centres where you have received each dose.