Feature: Kuwait uses app to monitor home-quarantined returnees

Source: Xinhua| 2020-05-11 17:41:49|Editor: huaxia

KUWAIT CITY, May 11 (Xinhua) -- The Kuwait Health Ministry has been using an app named "Shlonik" to follow up on the repatriated citizens from abroad who are in obligatory home quarantine.

Kuwait launched on April 19 a repatriation plan to bring home its citizens stranded abroad due to the coronavirus pandemic. Under the plan tens of thousands Kuwaiti citizens have returned home from various countries.

The app is linked with a smart bracelet in order to track movement and notify the ministry if people break the quarantine rules, Mona Al-Khabaz, head of the ministry's team in charge of digital monitoring of the home-quarantined people, told Xinhua.

The returnees are each given a bracelet upon their arrivals at the airports.

Shlonik notifies the medical teams in the event of breaking home quarantine and sends questions to the quarantined twice a day regarding the symptoms of coronavirus such as cough, temperature, and shortness of breath.

The app also asks the users to submit random selfies.

The app is independently developed by Kuwait, Al-Khabaz said, affirming that the app was a cooperation between the Ministry of Health, Central Agency for Information Technology and Zain telecommunication company.

Shlonik aims to follow up with people in obligatory home-quarantine which came in line with the repatriation plan, she noted. The app has been in use since April 19.

Al-Khabaz said that the application has another feature that can be used in the case of epidemiological investigation via Bluetooth.

The app can detect people who were in contact with the positive cases in addition to monitoring the time period which helps in isolating them in time, she noted.

The Kuwaiti health authorities have obligated more than 30,000 citizens who have returned to the country to download Shlonik application. Other Kuwaiti residents were also encouraged to download it.

Abdulrhman Al-Shammari, a Kuwaiti young man arrived from London a few days ago, told Xinhua that the waterproof bracelet is very comfortable while the app provides a coronavirus diagnostic service which allows those who are in-home quarantine to speak to a specialist to check on their health.

He said the app can also show all official information related to the coronavirus, which makes it easier for people in quarantine to avoid rumors from social media.

Al-Shammari receives three to four daily notifications where the application sends him a list of symptoms to choose from.

"Also, the profile allows me to know how many days are left for the quarantine and what lines we should not cross," he added.

Fahd Al-Wardan who also arrived from London, agrees with Al-Shammari on the importance of the app in following up and checking on the returnees' health status.

Speaking to Xinhua from home, he said that there are several advantages of this app, as it allows the country to check on returnees in their homes without keeping them in governmental quarantine.

The monitoring center consists of more than 100 doctors, trained in using this app to monitor the cases. Al-Khabaz said the center operates around the clock.

Al-Khabaz assured that many people were committed to home-quarantine, but also there are some violators that were busted by the health authorities.

Violators face an instant penalty, as they will be transferred directly to the governmental quarantine until they complete the period, she said, adding that the government will also take legal actions against them.

The health ministry is seeking to update the application by adding new features including medical advice and video calls, so that it will be possible for home-quarantined people to contact doctors and request medical advice without going to hospital, she noted. Enditem