Israel using app to tell citizens if they've come into contact with COVID-19 patient

An Israeli application called Hamagen, or Shield, is allowing users to get an alert when they have come into contact with someone the government has designated as a COVID-19 patient.

Users can opt into the application, which uses individuals location data and compares that to location information collected by the Israeli Health Ministry on the travel histories of people diagnosed with COVID-19.

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FOX 5 spoke to the CEO of one of the companies which worked on the app with the Israeli government.

Israeli health officials say the app does not transmit users' location information to the government. The information stays on the individual's phone.

If the app detects that a person came into close proximity with a coronavirus patient, the user gets an alert and information on what to do, including a recommendation to self-quarantine.

"It gives you all the information you need to be in quarantine. What you need to do. All the things you need to know," said Omri Moyal, CEO of Profero.

"Sadly there's so many new patients every day. Nobody can track it anymore. Nobody can look at all this data," Moyal said.


The Washington Post has reported the U.S. is working with technology companies on similar apps or tracking of COVID-19 patients.

FOX 5 reached out to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Health and Human Services Department, but they have not responded.