NAT 200521 Al HOSN UAE app-1590059964881
ALHOSN UAE app Image Credit: Supplied

Dubai: One of the most effective tools in the battle against COVID-19 in the UAE is the AlHOSN UAE App, launched jointly by the Ministry of Health and Prevention, the Abu Dhabi Health Authority and the Dubai Health Authority on April 24.

The app, named after a historical fort in Abu Dhabi, can be downloaded on Android and IOS devices and is free of cost. It is an official digital platform for COVID-19 tests in the UAE and the key to its success lies in its effective use by a large number of people.

Dr Farida Al Hosani, official spokesman of the health sector in the country,has stressed on the importance of more number of people subscribing to the free app.

Dr Farida Al Hosani

“The success of AlHOSN UAE application depends mainly on number of users, hence, the objectives of the application will not be achieved at the required level unless 50 to 70 per cent of the country’s population download the application and use it effectively,” she said

How to use the app?

Introducing AlHOSN UAE. the health ministry has explained how the easy-to-use app combines the benefits of Stay at Home and Trace COVID, two other apps previously launched by the Department of Health.

Individuals can go to the app store, download the app for free and register using national Emirates ID and mobile number. A unique code will be sent to the individual’s mobile for verification and once that is entered, it will ask the user to switch on the Bluetooth mode and the registration gets completed. The app run by artificial intelligence and other technological tool then generates a unique QR code for the user. It not only provides education and awareness on COVID-19 on issues such as hygiene, sanitation and social distancing instructions, it also allows the user to benefit from some indigenous health services. This includes receiving COVID-19 test results on their phones.

Why should everyone subscribe to this app?

As per the explanation provided by the MOHAP during the launch, the app depends on the use of short-term Bluetooth signals, to show whether a user is in close proximity to people who have had contact with patients infected with the COVID-19. This is possible if they also have the same app on their phones as the phones exchange the metadata stored in them. The app is also encrypted and the data remains only on the user’s phone. Through this data, the competent health authorities can quickly identify people at risk of transmission so that they can communicate with them and retest them again.

As it gets a broader subscriber data base, it will be able to give out an alert to a user approaching a COVID-19 hotspot and can play an important preventive role.

Steering clear of hotspots

The app clearly asks the user to report test results and in case it is positive, it can help tremendously in contact tracing as all registered users’ data is available and it facilitates the app into issuing an alert if a user has been in contact with a COVID-19 positive patient.

When used extensively by a greater number of people, it can help in identifying a COVID-19 hotspot as those users will show up through notification alert..

It can help one steer clear of hotspots and in case of one person turning positive, it can facilitate contact tracing. All the registered users of the app who may have met the positive patient will be alerted and would be required to self-isolate and get themselves tested. Early detection and isolation play an important role in containment of community transmission.

Asymptomatic patients and quarantine rules

Abdul Rahman bin Muhammad Al Owais

In case of those people who may have come in contact with an infected person, or those who test positive, are asymptomatic and are on home quarantine, the ALHOSN UAE application also provides a service that shows the extent to which people in home quarantine adhere to the instructions and avoid contact with other people. This is all aimed at protecting the people in quarantine as well as the rest of the society, said a health ministry during the launch of the application.

Emphasising on the imAbdul Rahman bin Muhammad Al Owais, UAE Minister of Health and Prevention had said during the launch: “portance of subscribing to the AlHOSN UAE app by all residents, We can contain this virus only if we all act together, each one giving the other protection and peace of mind,”