AGENCIES, Seoul: South Korea’s Prime Minister Chung Sye-kyun said the country will make self-isolation violators wear electronic wristbands since the number of cases of people breaching the self-quarantine in recent weeks has raised concerns.
“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,” Chung said during a meeting of the Central Disaster and Safety Countermeasures Headquarters in Seoul.
“We have listened to quarantine experts and gathered opinions from various communities,” he added.
The wristbands would track self-isolators’ movements via their mobile phones. The government currently runs a mobile app to monitor people in self-quarantine.
South Korean officials said stricter controls are required because some of the 57,000 people who are under orders to stay home have slipped out by leaving behind smartphones with tracking apps.
So far, more than 160 people have been caught violating self-isolation rules.
The South Korean government looks to be taking the spread of COVID-19 a little more seriously, and a little more painful to citizens, as it considers the use of an electronic wristband to enforce quarantine measures across the country.
Plans for broader use of wristbands were scaled back after objections by human rights and legal activists.
The wristbands are designed to alert officials if the wearers leave home or try to destroy or cut them off.
Under the country’s recently strengthened laws on infectious diseases, people can face up to a year in prison or be fined as much as $8,200 for breaking quarantine orders.
South Korea’s Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said at least 886 of the country’s 10,480 coronavirus cases have been traced to international arrivals.