Tech tracking set for quarantine

Local | Justin Tong and Maisy Mok 9 Mar 2020

Authorities will begin using new software this week to track the locations of quarantined people with electronic bracelets, Secretary for Innovation and Technology Nicholas Yang Wei-hsiung said.

The brand-new software was locally invented by a technology company and a university to "improve monitoring for the outbreak," Yang wrote in his blog yesterday.

"[We will first] analyze the changes of telecommunication networks, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and GPS signals with artificial intelligence and big data, then develop software to track whether the quarantined people are at home with the electronic bracelets," he added.

A local production line has been established in cooperation with seven institutions to produce 3,000 bracelets monthly.

Earlier last month, the government enforced an isolation order for those who have visited Hubei in the past 14 days, requiring them to wear electronic bracelets. But as the measure later extended to all those who have visited the mainland, Yang said the bracelets were only given to about 400 people who were not willing to share their live locations to the authority through their phones.

Meanwhile, Chief Secretary for Administration Matthew Cheung Kin-chung said more than 400 current and retired civil servants have volunteered to help monitor those under quarantine.

He said in his blog the volunteers have been monitoring and communicating with approximately 100 people under quarantine via digital applications to ensure they stay where they should be.

A "police anti-coronavirus contingent" has also been formed by 200 volunteering current and retired police officers. Their work includes distributing electronic monitoring tags to quarantined people with no smartphones and verifying the exact location of people under home quarantine.

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