Those who evade the mandatory quarantine reportedly risk being tracked by the police, facing up to six months in jail, and paying a fine of $641.
- People in Hong Kong who visited the Hubei province in China will be placed on in-home quarantine and tracked using wristbands, officials said.
- According to the South China Morning Post, the wristbands won't use GPS but will be connected to a smartphone that must remain in the quarantined person's home.
- Those who evade quarantine face a $641 fine and up to six months in prison, according to SCMP.
- Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.
Public health officials in Hong Kong said they plan to use wristbands to track people placed on home quarantine after they returned from China's Hubei province, the center of the coronavirus epidemic.
Those who evade the mandatory quarantine risk being tracked by the police, facing up to six months in jail, and paying a fine of $641, the South China Morning Post reported Monday.
Any resident of Hong Kong who has visited China's Hubei province within the past 14 days is required to undergo quarantine for two weeks. Those who return to Hong Kong with symptoms of the virus, or had close contact with an infected person, face mandatory quarantine at facilities in the city. Those who returned symptom-free or without close contact are allowed to be quarantined in their homes, SCMP reported.
Officials said it would send teams to the homes of the quarantined people to periodically take their temperature and monitor their health for symptoms of the virus, which has so far killed 427 people, mostly in mainland China.
According to the report, Hong Kong said it had 500 wristbands ready to use for the at-home quarantines, and that 30 families had been selected to receive the wristbands. Government officials said the wristbands do not use GPS but would be connected to a smartphone required to remain connected in a person's home.
"We have to respect users' privacy, thus we have not equipped the wristbands with GPS," Victor Lam Wai-kiu, Hong Kong's chief information officer, said, according to SCMP.
He added: "These are people who have to be quarantined at home, they are not criminals, so we agree we have to respect their privacy."
If a person wearing a wristband goes more than 65-100 feet away from their home, officials said they would first attempt to call the person. If they can't reach them, police would track those who left their homes while under the quarantine order. Those who evade the quarantine would be listed as a wanted person, according to the report.
One coronavirus death reported in Hong Kong as the border with China is shut down
The city of Hong Kong is currently grappling with how to handle the novel coronavirus outbreak, which has primarily impacted mainland China but has spread to 25 other countries.
Hospital workers in voted to strike on Sunday in order to pressure Hong Kong's leadership to cut off the border between the city and mainland China.
While Hong Kong has imposed restrictions on the border, the city's Chief Executive Carrie Lam has so far refused to completely shut down the border, citing guidance from the World Health Organization that warns against discrimination.
On Tuesday, Hong Kong reported its first death from the virus, which officials worry is spreading locally, as about 7,000 medical personnel participated in the hospital strike.
"Important services, critical operations have been affected," including cancer treatments and infant care, Lam said, according to The Los Angeles Times. "So I'm appealing to those who are taking part in this action that let's put the interests of the patients and the entire public health system above all other things."
A two-week quarantine has become a global protocol for individuals who recently visited Hubei. A similar quarantine was implemented last week in the United States.