It appears likely that Barbados will soon be introducing quarantine tracking bracelets for some Covid-19 citizens or tourists.
Word of this came from Minister of Health and Wellness, Lt. Col. Jeffrey Bostic on Friday, as he accepted a donation of computer supplies from the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) to be used for contact tracing in clinics used as COVID-19 testing sites.
Bostic said that while the teams managing the health crisis had been doing an outstanding job since the Grantley Adams International Airport reopened to limited flights in July, the situation was about to change in terms of the number of daily flights and there would soon be many more passengers arriving.
“So, we can expect that there will be an increase in the number of flights coming into Barbados out of the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada and even regionally, and although the efforts of the teams on the ground have been outstanding, this effort now requires significantly more resources.”
“We are planning to re-organize with what we have, add some additional resources, but at the forefront of this effort going forward will be the use of technology, so the computers are very, very timely, especially at the primary healthcare facilities that are doing testing and that are responsible for contact tracing.”
With the influx of flights and the expected reopening of the seaport, the Health and Wellness Minister disclosed that more technological devices would be introduced in coming weeks to assist his Ministry to manage the increased numbers of visitors.
“We are going to be having some branded bracelets that certain categories of persons will wear and those bracelets will be able to tell us a lot of things – trackers so that we know where people go, and if they remove the bracelets we will know that they’ve done so. So, we will be able to determine where people are, people who are of interest to us, and also the other apps that we are using will allow us to be able to not only gather the information quickly, but also be able to utilize the information in a timely manner to inform policy decisions.”
He further explained that the arrival of greater numbers of visitors will expand the need for designated facilities for quarantine and isolation.
Technology will therefore be used, he said, to assist the Ministry in more efficiently managing this process by keeping track on a daily basis of what is available in terms of capacity; when people are due to be discharged and also when people are due for the mandatory second test for the viral illness.
According to the latest protocols, everyone who arrives with a valid negative COVID-19 test result from countries deemed high or medium risk must take a second test in Barbados within four to five days after the first test.
Bostic also warned that the more people who visited the island, the greater the risk.
Bostic was not specific about the proposed bracelet devices, or the name of the brand, but it seems likely that they could be the same or similar to those already in use in South Korea, which has been fairly successful in controlling the spread of Covid-19.
Back in April the Korean government started issuing location-tracking bracelets for people who broke quarantine after reports of people tricking the government-mandated smart phone app by leaving their smartphones at home.
The wristbands instantly alert authorities if people tamper with them or cut them off, according to the Associated Press.
New arrivals also have to download a government smartphone app that tracks their location and asks them to report any symptoms, according to Reuters. Even those without symptoms are forced to self-quarantine for two weeks, after which the app displays a message saying they’re allowed to delete the app from their phone.
Other kinds of wristbands change color day by day, or can notify individuals when their period of quarantine is completed.
In another technological development the Massachusetts Institute of Technology has “created an ink that can be safely embedded in the skin alongside the vaccine itself, and it’s only visible using a special smartphone camera app and filter,” according to Futurism.
Futurism explains, “The invisible ‘tattoo’ accompanying the vaccine is a pattern made up of minuscule quantum dots — tiny semiconducting crystals that reflect light — that glows under infrared light. The pattern — and vaccine — gets delivered into the skin using hi-tech dissolvable microneedles made of a mixture of polymers and sugar.”
The journal Science Translational Medicine explains the technology as “a covert way to embed the record of a vaccination directly in a patient’s skin rather than documenting it electronically or on paper.”
In the face of COVID-19 panic and Democrat politicians pushing mandatory vaccinations, this technology could be used to track Americans who opt-out of a forced inoculation.