Electronic tracking devices will spare some Singapore visitors COVID-19 quarantine
Singapore authorities announced that not all new arrivals to the city-state will have to quarantine at a government facility during COVID-19 epidemic. Instead, the visitors from certain countries and returning Singapore residents will be issued an electronic monitoring device that will alert authorities if they leave home.
Government officials said that they will track incoming travelers coming from a select group of countries – including residents and citizens – with electronic monitoring devices, starting August 11.
Authorities framed the trackers as a positive for travelers, noting they would allow recipients to self-isolate at home instead of quarantining in a government facility. New arrivals will be ordered to activate the devices upon reaching home, at which point they are programmed to alert the authorities should the user try to leave or tamper with the device.
It’s not clear what kind of device the city-state plans to use, though the announcement hints at something quite a bit beefier than the slimline electronic wristbands Hong Kong deployed in March and South Korea has also adopted. Authorities hinted that recipients are supposed to receive and acknowledge notifications on the device itself, rather than on a smartphone app linked to the device as is the case in Seoul.
However, the city-state has sought to reassure recipients that the device will not store personal data and does not have the ability to record or store audio or video.
Singapore has only reported 27 deaths with the coronavirus, though its case count – 53,051 as of yesterday, according to Johns Hopkins University – is somewhat high for a nation of just 5.1 million people, reflecting the close quarters in which its inhabitants live.