As the pandemic progresses, the world continues to move away from COVID-19. In China, government agencies have explicitly indicated that they are in a system of testing, supervision and isolation. IN COVID-19 : Contact the Office of Your Personal Information of Health Protection, we have discovered the role of the China Healthcare application in China’s efforts.
And while Western journalists returning to China in March 2020 were subjected to a strict 14-day quarantine in a government-controlled facility, we had no idea how much isolation the people living in China would accept under a contact tracing regime.
The China Healthcare application provided users with a QR code whose color indicated the current status of the person – green, red or yellow. Those in a seven-day or shorter quarantine will receive a QR-code in yellow, while those in a fourteen-day quarantine will receive a QR-code in red.
It seems that this system, which requires the cooperation of individuals and the transmission of their personal data and their current state of health in order to function, was not sufficient.
The government, already known for its ubiquitous video surveillance capacity, had doubled its capacity and began using the technology to isolate, monitor or quarantine people ordered by the government.
The Irish emigrant Yang Lahifi told CNN that when he returned from a trip to southern China, the government in Beijing told him to stay in his hometown. Always ready to obey, that’s what Lahifi did. When he opened the door of his apartment the next morning, he was surprised that there was a video camera pointed at the door of his apartment.
When Laheefie ended the quarantine period, the camera was filmed.
Does this only happen to foreigners?
I’m not gonna do that. In a report published in Waibo (after he was fired), a citizen noted that the government had also installed a video camera not only in his apartment but also in his home. This tactic was adopted on the 16th. February 2020 documented.
Chinese telecommunication companies have contributed to quarantine and surveillance. This is evidenced by the mail from Hangzhou Unicom, which is delivered on the 10th. February in Weibo. It has been determined that the Unicom 5G+WiFi+Camera is a mobile solution used by government agencies to monitor people in domestic quarantine. At the station, visible cameras are installed on the railing and the walls, as well as a monitoring centre that receives the video signal.
Lily Cuo, the caretaker, described her home quarantine as absurd and effective. She went to Wuhan, returned to Beijing and was ordered to isolate herself in her apartment. In the morning and afternoon, she received regular phone calls from her designated manager, Mrs. Du, who reminded her to pass on her temperature data to Quo and to record the mandatory self-examination of her state of health.
Kuo discovered that there was a sensor on the door of her apartment that warned the caretaker when she opened the door to take out the garbage or make a delivery. In addition, a visual device, a piece of pink paper with hearts, was attached to the door so that the neighbours knew how long Kou’s quarantine would last. Clearly, the tip of the hat is for the proverb: Many hands do light work – in this case many eyes stand inwards and observe the order to isolate themselves.
The use of technology to support the detection, identification and containment of the COVID 19 pandemic works, but what works in China may not work elsewhere.
The Chinese people, who suffered from a lack of privacy a long time ago, do not protest more and more. After all, the efforts of the Chinese government are mainly seen as a necessary inconvenience.