In a bid to contain the spread of coronavirus, Hong Kong is using electronic wristbands to monitor those under a 14-day quarantine. According to international media reports, the government announced a new travel restriction which will now require all arriving travellers from foreign countries to undergo the 14-day quarantine. The wristbands and accompanying smartphone app will alert authorities if travellers violate the quarantine.
While speaking to an international media outlet, a stylist based in Hong Kong, who flew home from London, said that he was given a wristband to wear upon arrival. He added that it was an electronic band and would track his moments while he stayed home under ‘mandatory quarantine’. He further added that he was also instructed to download the smartphone app and to walk around his apartment once he arrived home so that it could map his premisses.
The Hong Kong government in a statement said that so far 50,000 reusable wristbands are readily available and another 60,000 disposable wristbands have also been procured from the market. The statement further read that 5,000 of the wristbands were already delivered and tested and 55,000 will be delivered in batches.
Amid the unprecedented times, Chief Executive Carrie Lam also announced that the schools in Hong Kong will not resume classes in April as planned due to coronavirus. While speaking at a press briefing, Lam said that it is ‘not possible’ to resume all classes on April 20 in view of the current public health situation. Furthermore, she added that even if classes could resume after containment of the outbreak, schools could one reopen in phases.
Meanwhile, the World Health Organisation (WHO) has declared the coronavirus as a global pandemic after the virus spread to more than 160 countries, resulting in the deaths of more than 7,000 people worldwide. WHO chief Tedros Adhanom further even urged all nations to get very serious over the issue and take all necessary measures to contain the virus from spreading at this rate. Tedros said, that the word 'Pandemic' cannot be used lightly or carelessly due to its strong connotation.
However, Tedros also said that the coronavirus outbreak is a controllable pandemic. According to a statement released by the World Health Organisation, Tedros outlined two main reasons as to why the decision was taken to describe the epidemic as a pandemic. Tedros said that one reason was the speed and scale of transmission and the others was because 'countries are not approaching this threat with the level of political commitment needed to control it'.