Thousands of quarantine wristbands not activated - RTHK
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Thousands of quarantine wristbands not activated

2020-03-20 HKT 11:32
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  • About 6,000 people who returned to Hong Kong were issued wristbands for monitoring but only one third have been activated. Photo: RTHK
    About 6,000 people who returned to Hong Kong were issued wristbands for monitoring but only one third have been activated. Photo: RTHK
The government said on Friday that about 6,000 people who arrived in Hong Kong after new quarantine measures took effect on Thursday had been issued monitoring bracelets to track their whereabouts, but only a third had been activated.

The bracelet contains a QR code that pairs up with a smartphone app which uses the strength of surrounding communications signals like Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and GPS to determine whether a person has left the prescribed location during their 14 days of quarantine.

But many people have complained that they did not receive the verification message needed to activate the smartphone app from the authorities.

Chief Information Officer Victor Lam admitted that there were some delays in the process to verify the accounts, because the system was launched abruptly.

He said people arriving from overseas were not required to install the app at the airport to avoid crowding.

Lam sought to allay the concerns of those who could not activate the bracelets, saying this would not lengthen their quarantine period. He said their compulsory quarantine started as soon as they landed in Hong Kong, not when they successfully activated the monitoring app.

A woman surnamed Choi told RTHK that she flew back from overseas on Thursday and arrived at home at 4pm. But she waited for five hours and still did not receive the verification message to activate the bracelet. She called a hotline multiple times but no one picked up.

Another person said he called the hotline 12 times before an officer of the Department of Health picked up and told him to wait patiently for the verification code.