Coronavirus: South Korea to strap tracking wristbands on those who violate quarantine orders

Health workers disinfect a street in South Korea on April 11, 2020.
Health workers disinfect a street in South Korea on April 11, 2020.PHOTO: EPA-EFE

SEOUL - South Korea on Saturday (April 11) said people who violate quarantine orders will be required to wear tracking wristbands.

This comes after a large number of people were found to have contravened self-quarantine rules.

The plan will take off within the next two weeks, said Prime Minister Chung Sye-kyun.

"After deep consideration, the government has decided to put electronic wristbands on people who violate self-isolation rules, such as going outside without notice and not answering phone calls," Yonhap news agency quoted Mr Chung as saying.

However, there are no laws in the country to compel those under quarantine to wear the wristbands.

As such, the health authorities will have to ask violators' permission before they can actually get them to wear the device.

The Korea Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC) said it expects "active cooperation" from those under quarantine.

As of Thursday, over 54,000 people were under self-quarantine, with more than 160 people caught for leaving the confines of their homes.

"If people under self-isolation break quarantine rules, such as going outside without notice and not responding to health check calls, they will face legal actions and will be asked to wear the wristbands for the rest of their quarantine period," Yonhap quoted the KCDC as saying.

 
 
 
 

The wristband will connect to the government's mobile app to monitor the movement of a person under quarantine. A notification will be sent to the authorities if the device is damaged.

A recent survey of 1,000 adults nationwide by the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism showed that 80.2 per cent of people supported the idea of using electronic wristbands to keep track of those under self-quarantine.

However, Yonhap had reported that some concerns have been raised over potential human rights violations.