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August 6, 2020

Electronic quarantine tags could be the new post-travel requirement

By Globaldata Travel and Tourism

Quarantine measures could just be another aspect of the ‘new normal’ that the global traveller may have to accept. The introduction of the electronic tag could soon be part of this, elevating consumer angst.

Singapore is one of the latest to introduce the electronic quarantine tag from August 11 as the city-state opens up its borders. The device works through a GPS tracking system and Bluetooth that can monitor the movement of an individual and alerts authorities if quarantine rules are broken.

The prospect of an enforced quarantine remains widely unpopular, causing travellers to cancel trips or attempt to break rules upon return. In order to enforce quarantine rules, electronic tags could be the new norm, a necessary evil that further discourages future travel plans.

Other destinations have introduced similar procedures

Hong Kong and South Korea have also introduced similar procedures for inbound travellers. In Hong Kong, authorities initiated a slim electronic wristband to enforce quarantine on arrivals. In South Korea, similar wristbands were connected to a smartphone app tracking movement, singling out those who violated quarantine.

Singapore has the most stringent consequences if quarantine is violated. If rules are broken, individuals can face fines of up to US$7,722 (US$10,000), or imprisonment of up to six months. In extreme cases, both can be the consequences under the Infectious Diseases Act.

Those aged under 12 do not have to wear these devices. In a statement, the government also declared that personal data will not be stored and that there will be no video or voice recording function involved.

More destinations may enforce stricter quarantine measures

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) in June forecast that global economic growth will decline by 5% in 2020. As the pandemic continues to spread, governments have been faced with one dilemma after another. Many are now in a bid to restart their respective economies. However, stricter quarantine measures are likely as long as COVID-19 remains active and a vaccine is undiscovered.

A recent survey by YouGov firm in partner with Reuters found that the idea of quarantine is widely unpopular in a variety of European source markets. The prospect of a second wave remains possible as destinations worldwide – such as Australia, China, Spain and Germany – have enforced regional lockdowns in recent times. Whilst there are still many that want to travel in 2020, strict quarantine measures may have to just be accepted on return and electronic monitoring could become part of the ‘new normal’.

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