Special Feature
Part of a ZDNet Special Feature: Coronavirus: Business and technology in a pandemic

South Korea considers electronic wristband to enforce COVID-19 quarantine

An electronic wristband is being considered due to the rising number of people violating their quarantine.

The South Korean government is considering the use of an electronic wristband to enforce quarantine measures in a bid to contain the spread of COVID-19.

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It is one among multiple options that are being considered to monitor those in quarantine, said Yoon Tae-ho, director general for public health policy at the Ministry of Health and Welfare, in a news briefing 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 added. 

He added that the government was aware of the strong negative connotations associated with using electronics wristband.  

As of 6 pm on Monday, the South Korean government has ordered for 46,566 people to undergo mandated quarantine, with 36,424 of them being recent arrivals from abroad. 

South Korea is currently mandating that all foreign arrivals be in self-isolation for 2 weeks. It has also ordered for those in quarantine to install the health ministry's app and notify the authorities of their status during that period. 

So far, 75 people have been found to have violated their quarantine, and 6 of them have been investigated by the police for violating the country's health laws. 

The government expects the number of people in quarantine to rise as high as 80,000 to 90,000 in the coming days. 

Besides electronic wristbands, the government is also considering other enforcement measures such as increasing the frequency of routine calls made to those in quarantine and arranging random visits, Yoon said.

As of Tuesday, South Korea has 10,331 COVID-19 cases with 192 dead. So far, 477,304 people have been tested since the outbreak while the rate for new cases has slowed considerably.

Last month, the government launched apps that provide the inventory status of face masks of nearby pharmacies to let people know about shortages and address the long queues at pharmacies. Meanwhile, local tech powerhouses such as Samsung and LG have temporarily shut down some of their factories as a precautionary measure against COVID-19.