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Israel rolls out new quarantine option for travelers—quarantine bracelets

By PINKY S. ICAMEN Published Mar 03, 2021 8:31 am

Israel continues to be one of the world leaders when it comes to its efforts to further curb the spread of COVID-19, starting with its rapid vaccination campaign that began in late December 2020.

This week, Israel rolled out a new policy that allows its citizens and permanent residents returning from international travel to quarantine at home as long as they will wear a tracking bracelet.

Prior to the new policy, it was mandatory for those coming from abroad to quarantine in a government-appointed hotel for up to two weeks until they are cleared and certified as COVID-free. The Israeli government pays for the hotel room and meals of those who are in mandatory quarantine.

The new policy will give travelers the option to quarantine at home with an electronic bracelet, which is slim, lightweight and waterproof. A smartphone and a wall-mounted tracker are also included in the system.

With the system in place, authorities will be able to know if the person wearing it breaks quarantine restrictions or if he or she tries to take off the bracelet.

Cybersecurity company SuperCom, which supplied the Israeli government the kits for the new system’s rollout, assures the public that the bracelet will not monitor anything aside from its user’s quarantine compliance.

SuperCom president and CEO Ordan Trabelsi told The Jerusalem Post that the bracelet does not feature any GPS technology. He also explained the technology as similar to what happens with a Bluetooth headphone, “If you are in the house, they are connected. If you leave the house, the communication is broken.”

He added, “Each individual goes to their home, and we identify the address with the phone, which carries a GPS system. Once they arrive, they put the sticker on the wall and from that moment quarantine starts. As long as the bracelet is close enough to the sticker, no alert is sent out to the system.”

For its pilot run, 100 tracking systems were made available for those who are arriving from abroad. Israel restricts those who are allowed to enter the country, which includes citizens and permanent residents.

Countries like Bulgaria, Hong Kong and South Korea have also used similar devices to enforce quarantine and also to help with contact tracing.

Quarantine bracelet banner and thumbnail photo from