In an effort to track high-risk people who have been placed under home quarantine in Kerala to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, the Kerala police have started using ‘geofencing’ technology to keep watch. Almost 65,000 people are under observation across the state, officials stated, but there have been multiple cases where people have not heeded direction and have violated quarantine protocol.
Geofencing technology tracks a person’s location using their mobile phone’s cell tower location and Global Positioning System (GPS). The Kerala police has developed a software that will send an alert to designated officials when the location of quarantined person changes. The GPS and mobile tower locations are being made available with the help of mobile service providers.
Kottayam District Police was the first in the state to implement geofencing for persons under quarantine for COVID-19. The technology is now also being used by police departments of other districts.
Speaking to TNM, Cyber Cell Police officials in Kottayam said that the technology has been working for them so far. “Geofencing has been very effective. We started this on March 17 and till date, we were able to spot 13 such people who came out of their locations,” said Manoj, who is part of the Kottayam Cyber Cell police team.
He also added that, at present, not everyone on the observation list is being monitored. “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,” he explained.
Meanwhile, State Police Chief Loknath Behera released a statement on Sunday stating that criminal cases will be registered against those who break quarantine rules and leave confinement.
As per March 23, 91 people are under treatment for COVID-19 in the state. 64,320 are under observation, out of which 63,937 are in home quarantine, and 383 are isolated in hospitals.