UPDATED: 15. MAY 2020, AT 11:36

Quarantine to become more “smart”

The new measures should be applied on Monday, May 18 in a testing operation.

The state quarantine centre in Gabčíkovo.The state quarantine centre in Gabčíkovo. (Source: TASR)

Instead of state quarantine, some Slovak citizens returning from abroad will be able to use a mobile app to monitor their isolation.

The so-called “smart” quarantine is part of the amendment to the law on public health protection, support and development and on electronic communication approved by the government on May 14.

The proposal was passed also by the parliament a day later, after being discussed in fast-track proceedings.

The details of the new system which should replace the current mandatory state quarantine will be revealed next week, probably on Monday, May 18.

This is also the day when the smart quarantine is expected to be launched in a testing operation.

Use will be voluntary

The main reason for launching the smart quarantine is the lack of capacity of state facilities where people returning to Slovakia from abroad have to be placed, plus the fact that the public have perceived state quarantine positively, the Health Ministry informed.

“It would also be less invasive for people coming to Slovakia from abroad, but it would provide a comparable level of measures to state quarantine,” reads the material approved by the cabinet, as quoted by the TASR newswire.

The decision of whether to use the mobile app should be voluntary as there are also other alternatives, like isolation in another facility. People who agree with smart quarantine will have to install the app, which will be free, and then use it, thus enabling the respective authorities to monitor whether they observe isolation. At the same time, they will enable access to the mobile app data about the location of the mobile phone.

Related articleOmbudswoman: Conditions of the state quarantine should be re-evaluated Read more 

This would also allow the reception of notifications, as well as face recognition, automatic update of the app, and enable a picture of the face of the mobile app user to be saved. It would also prevent any activities leading to the app’s malfunction, TASR wrote.

Fines same as for state quarantine

As Health Minister Marek Krajčí (OĽaNO) stressed, the app will not be used to surveil people.

The regional hygienist’s office would receive the information only when the quarantine is somehow breached. If people do not have a device necessary for smart quarantine, they will have to go into state quarantine.

The sanction for violating either form of the quarantine will be the same: up to €1,000 on the spot and up to €1,650 in an administration proceeding, the SITA newswire wrote.

PM Igor Matovič (OĽaNO) said that the recently issued Constitutional Court decision to suspended the amendment of the telecommunications law that would give hygienists access to data from telecoms operators should not prevent them from making the stay of people in quarantine “more pleasant”, as reported by SITA.

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