South Korea will strap electric wristbands to track people who defy Coronavirus self-quarantine

The controversial move has raised concerns among the activists

South Korea on Saturday, April 11, announced its move to strap electric bands on the people defying coronavirus quarantine. The latest move is to control the spread of the coronavirus in the country. The global pandemic has a death toll of more than 100,000 right before the Easter weekend.

As the plan was announced people were concerned over the controversial move affecting the people's liberty and privacy which was addressed by the Senior Health Ministry official Yoon Tae-ho on Saturday. The electric bands will be administered by the police and local administrative officials after two weeks of preparation and manufacturing.

The authorities said that there is a need for stricter administration of the quarantine because around 57,000 people are under stay at home orders and some of them have slipped out of their homes even under orders. They left their smartphones with tracking apps before leaving the assigned premises. The authorities had plans to use the wristbands on people on a wider scale but there was an objection from the human rights and legal activists.

People outside a supermarket in SouthKorea
People wait outside a supermarket in South Korea to buy face masks following the coronavirus outbreak in the country. BBC News/Screenshot

Increase in the number of travellers

Yoon Tae-ho also said that there is a need for stricter monitoring on the people who are quarantined because the number of people coming in from abroad has increased since the country has imposed self-quarantine on travellers since April 1.

An official from the Ministry of the Interior and Safety said that the legal grounds under which the wristband was being administered is "insufficient", but the people who are breaking the quarantine rule will be given consent forms as the authorities investigate them before the wristbands are administered.

The country has also strengthened its laws on people who break the quarantine. People can face up to a year in prison or be fined up to $8,200. Lee Beom-seok, the official from the ministry of the interior and safety said that people who wear the wristbands could be considered for a lighter punishment.

The wristbands are said to alert the police when a person in self-quarantine leaves the premises or when they try to destroy it or cut them off. According to South Korea's Centre for Disease Control 886 of the country's 10,480 where international arrivals. The number of people quarantined includes 49,697 people who arrived from abroad. Around 1,340 international travellers are also quarantined. Hong Kong has also issued a similar measure.

More cases in the US

As South Korea battles the people not following the rules, the US has seen a considerable amount of cases overnight. There has been a surge in the number of cases in New York and the surrounding regions.

The area with 20 million people accounts for more than half of the 500,000 cases of the country. Apart from New York, the hotspots in the US is said to be Detroit, Louisiana and the national capital, Washington. The tally by the John Hopkins University rose to 1.7 million.

Related topics : Coronavirus