- In Hong Kong, anyone arriving from a foreign country is required to wear a wristband and follow a 14 day quarantine.
- Some of the devices are small wristbands with a QR code, which wearers are supposed to use to check in with an app on their phones.
- Recently, some arrivals have been given larger bracelets capable of tracking their movements.
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Hong Kong has taken a stricter approach to coronavirus quarantines than many countries, using wristbands to enforce a mandatory 14 day quarantine on anyone arriving from another country.
Hong Kong, along with Singapore and Taiwan, initially seemed to have gotten ahead of COVID-19, the coronavirus disease, with few infections. Then, a new wave of coronavirus cases spiked, largely from travellers from abroad. In response, arrivals have been given wearable technology to ensure that they follow the 14 day quarantine orders, or risk six months in jail and a $US645 fine, plus possible social media backlash.
Here are what the bracelets are like, and how they work.
Bracelets became mandatory for arrivals in Hong Kong on March 18.
Authorities give out wrist bands with a QR code, and instruct wearers to download a corresponding app. They also receive handouts detailing consequences for breaking quarantine orders.
Arrivals received a PIN on their phones, which allowed them to connect the app to the wristband.
Source: The New York Times
The StayHomeSafe app is used to connect to the wrist bands and periodically rescan. If someone tries to break quarantine, it issues a warning.
Wearers are prompted to walk around the perimeter of their apartment, or wherever they would be spending the quarantine period, to map it out for the app.
One person told the New York Times that after mapping her apartment, if her phone was in an unregistered space it would start beeping, and could only be stopped by scanning each member of the family’s wristband QR code.
After two weeks, a text informs wearers that their quarantine period is over, and they can cut off the wristband.
Some of the 60,000 bracelets issued by the Department of Health and the Innovation and Technology Bureau are larger than the wristbands, and capable of tracking wearers independently of their phones.
Source: The New York Times
The tracking bracelets are larger and more intrusive, bigger than a typical watch.
See the bracelet next to an Apple Watch for comparison.
These home quarantine bracelets people have to wear when they arrive in Hong Kong for the first 14 days are getting pretty intense. pic.twitter.com/7GYkcrBdYp
— Sam Gellman (@SamGellman) April 30, 2020
As of March 20, Hong Kong authorities had only activated a third of bracelets,.
Hong Kong Health Secretary Sophia Chan said that mandatory quarantines for visitors will be extended to at least June 7.
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