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Coronavirus: Kerala Police Is Using This Tech To Monitor People In Quarantine

Meryl Sebastian
Police stand guard on a road in Kochi, Kerala, on March 25, 2020. 

Kerala police has roped in its cyber cell to use tech and surveil the movement of high-risk people who have been placed under quarantine to tackle the spread of the novel coronavirus in the state. 

Kerala had 112 COVID-19 positive patients as of Thursday morning and one of the challenges the administration has been faced with is keeping people in quarantine. (See here, here and here.)

Last week, the state government had raised serious concerns after a Kasargod man violated government instructions on social distancing and hospital’s advice to self isolate and attended multiple public events.

On Thursday, the Palakkad district collector said that a COVID-19 positive patient in Kerala was found to have violated the mandatory home quarantine rule.

The Kerala police said it had developed a software that tracks the movement of people in quarantine using geofencing, Mathrubhumi News reported last week.

Geofencing used by Kerala police

“Only the high-risk contacts, like those who have had close association with the positive COVID-19 cases and those whom officials think may break protocol, are monitored,” a cyber cell official told The NewsMinute.

Geofence is a virtual boundary set up around a geographical location. The technology uses Global Positioning System (GPS), RFID tags, Wi-Fi or a person’s mobile phone to track their location.

“It is similar to mobile tracking. This is essential now to ensure that the quarantined persons, who do not follow restrictions, are disciplined,” said Jawaid Akhtar, additional chief secretary (health), according to The Hindu.

Mobile service providers are providing the GPS and mobile tower locations of such a person, TNM reported.

Authorities are alerted immediately when the person steps outside the geofence.

Kottayam District Police was the first to begin using this last week. District police chief G Jayadev told Mathrubhumi News that the police had used the technology to take action against 13 people.

Other districts in the state have also begun using this...

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