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Hong Kong is putting electronic wristbands on arriving passengers to enforce coronavirus quarantine

Hong Kong is using electronic wristbands as part of its effort to enforce quarantines and reduce the spread of the new coronavirus.

The measure comes as the government announced that starting at midnight on March 19, it is putting all arriving passengers under a two-week quarantine and medical surveillance. The city’s leader Carrie Lam said that of 57 new cases Hong Kong recorded in the past two weeks, 50 were travelers from overseas.

The wristbands are connected to a smartphone app and will be used to make sure people actually stay at home.

Declan Chan, a stylist and Hong Kong resident, returned on March 17 on a flight from Zurich and was surprised when he was told he needed to abide by the new measures to enter Hong Kong.

“I was just expecting we’d have to fill out a form. I didn’t realize there would be a wristband,” he told CNBC by phone from his Hong Kong home, while under quarantine.

Chan filled out a form which suggested passengers had the option of sharing their location with the government via messaging platforms, like WeChat and WhatsApp, or by agreeing to wearing an electronic wristband. But he soon learned the messaging apps were not an option and all passengers must wear the wristbands.

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