Stating that strict actions will be taken on the tarvellers defying government’s order of self-quarantining for 14-days, Tamil Nadu Health Minister Dr C Vijayabhaskar issued a stern warning as a coronavirus control measure.
He also added that since the details of the travellers have been shared with district officials, they will keep a close tab on people’s movements.
However, no amount of warning seems to be working with many disobeying the self-quarantine orders like a UK-return bureaucrat’s son and Bollywood singer Kanika Kapoor. Cases of people flouting the rules have been reported on a daily basis since the outbreak of COVID-19.
During times like these, India which is yet to come down heavily on those flouting the rules should take a cue from countries like Hong Kong, Austria, Belgium, and Taiwan.
A few days ago, Hong Kong introduced wristbands with an electronic tracker that will alert the authorities, if the person moves out of his/her house.
The bands with unique QR codes for each person are handed over to them at the airport. After downloading an app called stayhomesafe, they are asked to walk around the house to calibrate it. Using geofencing technology, the algorithms on the app sample the signals at home, including the home wifi connection, wifi from nearby sources, Bluetooth and cellular networks. When the person walks around, the app will create a composite signature of the house. So, when the person leaves the premises the app will alert the authorities, who can impose a fine and imprison the offender for up to six months.
Similarly, Taiwan has activated an electronic fence that alerts authorities if people violate quarantine orders through mobile phone data. A signal will be sent to officials if people move out of their homes or switch the phone off.
Last week, Austria’s telecom giant Telekom Austria AG revealed that it was sharing anonymised data with the government to aid them in tracking quarantined people. Anonymised data is the process of information sanitisation that aims at protecting the privacy of a person.
Belgium too is following a similar procedure, with the government tying up with local telecom operators to provide them with information on quarantines people.