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Israeli tech firm offers app to government to keep tabs on quarantined COVID-19 patients

COVID-19 quarantine. Photo courtesy of Pixabay.

By INON BEN SHUSHAN
(JNS) – Israel’s Synel, which develops technical solutions based on geographical location, has reached out to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Health Minister Yuli Edelstein and coordinator of Israel’s efforts to curb the coronavirus outbreak Prof. Ronni Gamzu to offer an app that tracks the digital presence of people in quarantine without using their smartphone’s microphone or camera.

The Harmony Smart application allows users in quarantine to supply updates about their location, matching their addresses with their physical locations or the physical locations of their devices. The only information passed along to the government is the location from where the report was sent, and the time and telephone number of the quarantined user.

Synel stressed that the app cannot access any hardware on users’ phones because it is based on GPS data.

In March, the company reached out to the relevant ministries and offered them the use of its app, but the government did not express an interest. Now, with an increasing number of Israelis testing positive for COVID-19 and being ordered to quarantine themselves, Synel has repeated its offer.

“Today, in the midst of the second wave [of coronavirus] with tens of thousands of citizens in quarantine, as a proud Israeli business concerned about the health of the public, we are again reaching out and offering effective, immediate help in enforcing quarantine for thousands of Israelis,” the company stated in a letter to the government.

Despite movement-tracking measures, Israeli COVID-19 patients are largely responsible for policing their own quarantine. The more Israelis are assigned to quarantine, the harder it is for the authorities to ensure that they are following instructions.

This article first appeared in Israel Hayom.

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