27th May 2020
Sarawak Multimedia Authority (SMA)
Any technology, including QR-coded wristbands, can be being tampered with, but what is required is a concerted effort from the public and enforcement agencies to curb the spread of Covid-19.
Sarawak Multimedia Authority (SMA) general manager Dr Zaidi Razak said that individuals undergoing quarantine who tampered with their QR-coded wristbands were committing an offence under gazetted order as announced earlier by Local Government and Housing Minister Datuk Seri Dr Sim Kui Hian. Explaining the reason for implementing the QR-coded wristbands for digital surveillance, Zaidi said that one of the problems in the earlier days of contact tracing was locating the residence persons-under-investigation (PUIs) and persons-under-surveillance (PUS) lived. “Many of them just filled in their kampung (village) and for some, their handwriting was difficult to read. So, we came up with location-tagging,” he told New Sarawak Tribune yesterday. Initially, he said there was a proposal to have these individuals update their health status, but it did not go through as only the Sarawak Health Department (JKNS) could hold the health record of these individuals. “Hence, we only tag their location. Their location is detected through their phone’s GPS function; they need to enable it as per the instruction in the leaflet and these GPS coordinates will be recorded in our server,” he said. Another purpose of the wristband, Zaidi said, was to inform others that the wristband-wearer could potentially have an infection risk — so others should increase precautionary measures when socialising with them. He explained that SMA had used medical wristbands with a printed QR code attached to it, which contained the individual’s particulars. “More sophisticated devices such as real-time online detection with GPS and GSM capabilities would require a higher budget. If we had this budget, these would also require time to order and deliver here,” he said. Recently, there have been reports of PUIs cutting off their QR-coded wristbands and further breaching their mandatory home quarantine.