Last Friday, Poland launched a new app that requires coronavirus patients to take selfies regularly. The users need to upload their geo-location selfies on the app to prove that they are quarantining properly by staying at home.
The “Home Quarantine” app is mandatory for people who are have been quarantined for 14 days after returning from abroad. According to Poland’s Digital Ministry, the app is available on Google Play and the App Store.
Those who have downloaded the app need to register on the app with a selfie and then send out geo-location selfies periodically. British journalist Jakub Krupa says that the accounts are being automatically created for suspected coronavirus patients.
The app also helps to connect with the social services or request help with urgent supplies.
Accounts are being automatically created for all suspected patients under quarantine, including tens of thousands returning from abroad.
— Jakub Krupa (@JakubKrupa) March 20, 2020
The quarantined citizens of Poland have two choices: either receive unexpected visits from the police or downloading this app. After failing to respond to the selfie request within 20 minutes, the police will be notified. According to France 24, Poland police also fined a citizen an amount of 500 zloty ($116) on Friday for breaking quarantine.
However, Krupa also says that the purpose of the app isn’t just to punish the citizens who flee quarantine. It also “helps to connect with the social services or request help with urgent supplies.”
Even though demanding selfies is a little weird, Poland isn’t the only country to implement drastic measures for containing the pandemic. Singapore is asking its citizens to download an app that uses Bluetooth to track if they have been near anyone who has contracted the disease.
Meanwhile, Taiwan has developed an ‘electronic fence‘ approach to alert police if suspected coronavirus patients try to escape their quarantine.