Bengaluru: In the wake of the fast spreading coronavirus pandemic, the B.S. Yediyurappa government is set to launch a mobile application Thursday to constantly monitor the location of nearly 15,000 people who are under home quarantine in Karnataka.
The move has come after the government Tuesday released a list of 14,910 people who have returned from abroad and kept under 14-day home quarantine, with details of their address, date of return and country of visit. Of these, 4,095 individuals are located within Bengaluru.
Those listed will have to compulsorily use the government app called ‘Quarantine Watch’ to update their location every half an hour. The app will help the health authorities to monitor the home isolated and provide them with assistance if required.
In addition to this, the government is also launching an app called ‘Corona Watch’, which will show the spots visited by Covid-19 patients before detection, along with the date and time of their visit.
The decision to keep a strict vigil came as the police and health department officials found several people violating the quarantine.
“Anybody who does not notify their location every half hour, we will shift them from home quarantine to mass quarantine,” Munish Moudgil, secretary of administrative reforms and in-charge of the state’s Covid-19 war room, told ThePrint.
Moudgil said the Karnataka government will have a no-tolerance policy against those who are seen violating home quarantine, adding that the list has been released to curb the outbreak’s spread.
“There have been rampant violations and we urge people to take this more seriously. Karnataka began screening people from all countries at a very early stage. On one day, we had 46 persons violating home quarantine. They were later shifted to mass quarantine. This app will help keep a track on such violators,” he added.
Moudgil has also asked officials in all government departments to post the home-quarantined list on their websites so that the public can be made aware and remain safe.
If anyone’s found violating home quarantine norms, one should inform the state department on the helpline numbers 104, 080-46486000, and 080-66692000, health officials told ThePrint.
Speaking on condition of anonymity, a senior health official said that most foreign returnees who have been screened have taken the home quarantine seriously, but a small percentage of people have been found violating it by using public transport, walking in public spaces or going to grocery shops.
The health officer said the people have been putting others at risk, especially when the epidemic has reached a critical stage in India.
Earlier this week, a 70-year-old doctor who had returned from London on 19 March, was booked for allegedly violating home quarantine. He was found taking a morning walk at Bengaluru’s Kuvempu Park Monday. The other walkers saw his quarantine stamp and alerted the police. He was later taken back home.
“They need to take this seriously in order to ensure we don’t want to step into the phase where it turns out to be a local community-transmitted outbreak which cannot be controlled,” he said.
On Sunday, the Bengaluru city civic body, Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) undertook a mass drive involving 500 teams to identify home quarantined individuals and stamp their wrists with the date their isolation ends.
The new list has caused a lot of panic, and many of those whose details have been uploaded, have written to the government saying they are facing ostracisation or even harassment.
However, government officials told ThePrint it was necessary to put up the list to ensure that people do not violate the quarantine, and if they do, their resident associations/public must report the violation.