Coronavirus update: Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said the police will track mobile phones of people ordered to stay in home-quarantine(Twitter/@AamAadmiParty)
Coronavirus update: Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said the police will track mobile phones of people ordered to stay in home-quarantine(Twitter/@AamAadmiParty)

Covid-19 update: Inspired by Singapore, Delhi to track mobile phones to enforce quarantine

Kejriwal said the government had already handed over 25,000 phone numbers to the police to trace.
Hindustan Times, New Delhi | By HT Correspondent
UPDATED ON APR 01, 2020 06:53 PM IST

The Delhi Police has been ordered to track mobile phones of people in home-quarantine to find out if they stepped out or came in contact with others, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said on Wednesday.

Kejriwal said the government had already handed over 25,000 phone numbers to the police to trace.

The chief minister, who insisted that there had been no instance yet to indicate that coronavirus disease was in a community transmission stage in the national government, said the mobile phone tracing would establish quarantine violation but also identify their possible contacts.

“We had given 11,000 phone numbers to Delhi Police for tracking yesterday. Today, 14,000 more numbers were sent,” he said.

The decision to use smartphones was taken at his meeting with Lieutenant Governor Anil Baijal.

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It was inspired, the chief minister said, by countries such as Singapore that are using technology to enforce quarantines.

The use of smartphone locations to locate a person in quarantine started in China, was quickly adopted in Singapore and China, and has been adapted by countries in Europe. Last week, the UK’s data and privacy authority confirmed that it wasn’t a violation of an individual’s privacy.

Ensuring that people who are ordered to stay in isolation do not move out has been a challenge for states across the country. Health departments and the police had initially started pasting notices outside homes of people under self-quarantine and encouraged neighbours to report violations.

But it was often not enough. So Karnataka came up with a mobile application that requires people to send geotagged selfies every hour, a system that is being adopted in Telangana as well.

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