South Korea launched wristbands for those breaking quarantine because people were leaving their phones at home to trick government tracking apps

  • South Korea will put wristbands on people defying quarantine, after people tricked government tracking apps by leaving their phones at home.
  • 57,000 people who entered South Korea after April 1 are confined to their homes for 14 days but more than 160 were caught breaking curfew.
  • In response, the government has launched wristbands that tell officials if the person tries to cut it off or leave the home.
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South Korea will use wristbands to stop people breaking quarantine because government tracking apps are being easily fooled by curfew breakers who leave their phones at home. 

57,000 people who entered South Korea after April 1 have been confined to their homes as a precaution for 14 days, but some are going outside regardless, according to The Associated Press and South Korea's Yonhap news agency.

The government launched several tracking apps that monitor the location of those meant to be in quarantine.

But 160 people have so far been caught violating self-isolation rules.

To counteract the problem, the wristband, which connects to the apps via Bluetooth, will alert officials if the person leaves the home, or tries to destroy the band.

"After deep consideration, the government has decided to put electronic wristbands on people who violate self-isolation rules, such as going outside without notice and not answering phone calls," Prime Minister Chung Sye-kyun said on Saturday, according to Yonhap.

"We have listened to quarantine experts and gathered opinions from various communities."

The punishment for breaking the curfew can be as much as a year in jail, and a fine of $8,200.

The existence of the wristbands was first floated by Yoon Tae-ho, director general for public health policy at the Ministry of Health and Welfare, at a press conference on Tuesday. 

"Most of those who are in quarantine are following protocols well but there have been some violations. We will come up with the most efficient measure after further discussions," Yoon said.

Yoon added that authorities may begin random drop-in visits to those supposedly on lockdown.

Hong Kong rolled out 60,000 versions of a similar bracelet on March 16, which were given to recent arrivals to the country, with limited success. 



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