Tech approach to home quarantine

March 16, 2020

The Government is adopting a multi-tech approach to home quarantine support with the locally developed electronic wristbands as a key solution, the Innovation & Technology Bureau said today.


Apart from the e-wristbands developed by the Logistics & Supply Chain MultiTech R&D Centre, other technology solutions are being introduced to complement the current monitoring system in dealing with the evolving epidemic.


Since February 8, more than 50,000 people have been put under home quarantine. With the Red Outbound Travel Alert being issued on a number of European and Asian countries and the US, the number of people under home quarantine will continue to rise.


The Anti-epidemic Fund has set aside $50 million for home quarantine support with the aid of technology.


So far, 5,000 reusable wristbands produced by the centre are readily available and another 60,000 disposable wristbands have been procured from the market, 5,000 of which were delivered and tested and the remaining 55,000 will be delivered in batches.


The Office of the Government Chief Information Officer has been in contact with developers to source other technology solutions that can complement the current monitoring system to enhance effectiveness.


It is collaborating with Compathnion Technology, pairing a mobile app developed by the local startup in the Science Park and a local university with the electronic wristbands to ascertain people under quarantine are staying at their dwelling places.


The mobile app helps analyse the change in communication signals with artificial intelligence and big data.


Used together with the electronic wristbands since March 14 and proven effective, the solution application will be adopted for people to be put under compulsory quarantine. In case anyone under quarantine leaves the dwelling place, the Department of Health and Police will be alerted to take follow-up action.


This solution application fits well for compulsory home quarantine as the technology is most suitable for use in an indoor environment and the wristband is waterproof, a perfect demonstration of applying local technological development for the benefit of local people.


The decision on the technologies to be used in monitoring was made on a risk-based approach.


During the quarantine period, various measures are used to ensure compliance, including real-time location sharing by people under quarantine via WhatsApp or WeChat.

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