Geofencing on cards for home quarantined

Authorities in talks with Google, tech professionals to track suspect cases

Published: 24th March 2020 05:25 AM  |   Last Updated: 24th March 2020 05:25 AM   |  A+A-

Passengers wearing protective masks travel in a crowded Gorakhpur bound train amid worldwide coronavirus scare at Lokmanya Tilak Terminus in Mumbai

Representative image (Photo| PTI)

Express News Service

BENGALURU: Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP), along with health and police department officials, have stamped the hands of 5,000 people who have been home-quarantined. Now, the departments are working on the next step -- geofencing -- to track their movements.

The need for artificial intelligence has arisen after police and health department officials learnt of cases of home-quarantined people not following rules and staying indoors or in isolation. The departments are in talks with Google and other technology professionals on how it can be put to use.

“There is limited police force and many other issues to be addressed. We cannot keep track of every person who is stamped, so we are working on geofencing them. If they move beyond their set radius, we will know,” Bengaluru City Police Commissioner Bhaskar Rao told The New Indian Express.

Officials said that Bengaluru, being the IT capital, should be best able to use such technology. They are working on either introducing bar codes for each person stamped or tracking them using their mobile phones, they said.

Rao said that they were keen to introduce geofencing at the earliest, as time is at a premium, and things need to be paced up. Algorithms will be used to ensure that those moving around are traced, and strict action is taken against them.

Rao said that there are cases where people have been found wandering on the roads of Bengaluru despite being stamped. “So far, no cases have been booked against such people, they are being advised and sent home. But in future, the plan is to send them to government quarantine centres,” he said.

BBMP Commissioner BH Anil Kumar said that in one day alone, 5,000 people on home-quarantine have been identified and stamped. The target, based on information obtained from police and airport officials, is 22,000 people. To complete the exercise in quick time, 1,100 teams are being formed, of which 300 were formed on Sunday.

Kumar said that while many people are aware of their role, there are educated people, including scientists and other professionals, who argue with they should not be stamped. It becomes very difficult to keep a tab on people without this stamp, he said.

Another official said that they were working on geofencing and social distancing by informing society members of the people stamped to ensure people stay away from them.


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