Singapore Forces Tracking Devices on Those Entering Country

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Travelers entering Singapore not entering official isolation facilities will be fitted with a tracking device to monitor their movements, the government announced on Monday.

Starting next Tuesday, all travelers including Singaporean nationals, permanent residents, long-term pass holders, work pass holders, and their dependents must wear the device for two weeks following their arrival, said the Immigration and Checkpoints Authority (ICA), Ministry of Manpower (MOM), and Ministry of Education (MOE) in a joint press release. Only those aged 12 or younger are exempt from wearing the device.

The statement explains:

On arrival in Singapore, travellers serving their SHN [stay home notice] at their place of residence will be issued with an electronic monitoring device at the checkpoints, after immigration clearance. They will need to activate the electronic monitoring device upon reaching their place of residence. If the device is not activated as required, the authorities will follow up to determine their location, and assist to resolve any technical difficulties, or take enforcement action, as the case may be.

The agencies went on to confirm that any attempt to remove or tamper the device will trigger an alert to local authorities, who will then investigate them:

During the 14-day period, persons wearing these devices may receive notifications on these devices and need to acknowledge them in a timely manner. Any attempt to leave the place of residence or tamper with the electronic device will trigger an alert to the authorities, who will conduct follow-up investigations, except when the person is leaving his/her place of residence for his/her appointment for the COVID-19 test. After serving their SHN, they need to deactivate the device and dispose of or return it in accordance with the instructions.

As of early August, Singapore has recorded 53,346 coronavirus cases, a relatively high number given its population of nearly six million. Those found guilty of flouting the rules will face a fine of up to 10,000 Singaporean dollars and six months in jail.

Singapore is well known for its authoritarian system of governance. As noted by Human Rights Watch, the government oversees a wide range of human rights violations including restrictions on freedom of expression, persecution of LGBT people, and aggressive use of the death penalty. Unlike many authoritarian regimes, Singapore is a wealthy state, ranked among the five richest countries in the world.

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