Electronic tag for flouting quarantine order

THE Health Ministry said on Saturday that the relative of a SARS patient will be tagged electronically after repeatedly flouting a home quarantine order – one of 12 people who have broken the rules and left the confines of their home. 

There are now 558 people under home quarantine and the offender in question is related to a patient who previously broke home quarantine and was warded at the National University Hospital. 

The ministry’s disclosure came in its latest update on SARS, in which it said another seven people were diagnosed on Saturday, bringing the total number of victims here to 147. 

The new cases include three healthcare workers – two from Tan Tock Seng Hospital (TTSH) and one from Changi General Hospital. 

There are also three linked to the Singapore General Hospital cluster – two patients and one family contact. The seventh new case is the son of a MediaCorp staffer hospitalised on Tuesday. 

As for incoming airline passengers, the ministry said that in the 24-hour period from 4pm on Friday, there were 41 passengers from affected areas who required further screening by nurses at the airport. 

Five foreign passengers were admitted to TTSH for further assessment. They include three Indonesians arriving from Hong Kong who were picked up during temperature checks on Friday, and two Chinese nationals from Xiamen who were picked up during visual screening on Saturday.  

The news of quarantine breakers underlined why authorities here have taken a tough stand – announcing last Thursday the appointment of security firm Cisco to serve quarantine orders and to install Web cameras in their homes. 

On Friday, Cisco had placed electronic cameras in 12 homes.  

Cisco and Health Ministry spokesmen could not say how long the exercise would take. 

A Cisco spokesman said installation work began at 9pm on Thursday, shortly after the rules were announced.  

The firm would fit the cameras as “quickly as possible”. The new rules require those quarantined to stand in front of the camera when Cisco officers call them. –The Straits Times/Asia News Network  

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