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Port of Antwerp fighting corona infections with a smart bracelet

The Port of Antwerp is teaming up with the tech company Rombit to prevent corona infections by using a digital bracelet that ensures social distancing.

The digital solution is being revealed as the port remains fully operational during the pandemic, with freight handling and industrial production continuing as usual.

The armband dubbed Romware Covid Radius has been produced from the company’s existing safety bracelet the Romware ONE with the addition of some new features to ensure social distancing and permit contact tracing.

The initiative comes in response to the call by the Flemish Government to create digital solutions for helping society through the current corona crisis.

Port of Antwerp, which recently introduced a project with the Romware ONE safety bracelet, will be the first to make use of the Covid functions. 

“This will help employees to observe the strict precautions laid down by the World Health Organisation (WHO) while respecting the privacy of the wearer,” the port authority said.

How does it work?

The new Covid bracelet issues a warning signal whenever employees come too close to one another.

The port insists that the privacy of the employees is guaranteed as the Covid Wearable never passes on the location or other sensitive information to the employer.

 At the same time, the bracelet permits contact tracing: if someone happens to be infected then a health advisor or trusted confidant can check which work colleagues the person has come in contact with, in order to prevent further infection. 

“Innovation and digitisation are crucial in times of crisis such as these. It is essential to keep the port operational and to ensure that our employees can work safely. We, therefore, see great potential in this solution and will shortly start trials with a team of operatives,” Port of Antwerp CEO Jacques Vandermeiren, said.

Rombit CEO John Baekelmans said that the company was investing huge efforts to get the modified bracelet onto the mass market in large quantities in response to great international interest.

Impact of the pandemic on the port

The impact of the coronavirus pandemic on the global supply chains has also been visible at the Port of Antwerp, however, so far it was fairly limited.

Nevertheless, the port authority expects the impact to be much greater in the second quarter of the year amid cancelled departures, large sectors of industry such as the car industry in western Europe being shut down, and changing patterns of consumer behaviour. 

 “Thanks to its worldwide connectivity and the diversity of its trade, Port of Antwerp is less dependent on specific markets. Moreover, the port has an enormous storage capacity that can act as a buffer for the economy, which will permit faster restarting of industry and recovery of consumption in Belgium and part of Europe,” Vandermeiren said.

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