JEDDAH: In a Twitter post on Thursday, the Ministry of Health-approved app Tawakkalna announced that all registered users will receive an SMS containing their name, ID number and health status as a temporary measure until the app’s ongoing technical issues are solved.
Speaking to Saudi Arabia’s news channel, Al-Ekhbariya, the application’s spokesman, Majid Al-Shihri, said that they are working on fixing the issue permanently, adding that the SMS’s validity will end at midnight on Friday.
The app, launched last year to help track COVID-19 infections, has seen a surge in registrations in recent days as a number of regional governors called for establishments to put stricter entry restrictions in place to curb the spread of the coronavirus.
The app provides people with a simple way to prove their health status and so gain access to private sector and government establishments including ministries and shopping centers, the majority of which will no longer allow people to enter without such proof.
The latest version of the app grants “immune” status to residents who have received both doses of a COVID-19 vaccine. Other statuses include “no record of infection,” “infected,” “exposed,” and “arrived from abroad.”
As the only member of her household with a working Tawakkalna app, 28-year-old private-sector worker Rawaa Daghistani took the day off on Thursday to help out at home and complete the routine errands usually carried out by her family’s driver.
“The driver’s attempts to access the app were futile. It was impossible for him to do anything,” Daghistani told Arab News, adding that she had witnessed long queues outside various commercial establishments as people tried to get their apps to work.
“You could see the desperation on everyone’s faces. I saw a crowd outside a bank on my way to the supermarket and when I reached the parking area, I could see a large crowd and a growing line outside, all trying to (access) the app,” she said. “The supermarket was practically empty. I was sad to see so many standing outside.”