Conservative MP Calls for GPS Tracking of Quarantined Britons

A man wearing a protective mask walks past a boarded restaurant with the writing "Covid 19-84" referring to George Orwell's book 1984, as France is on a second lockdown aimed at containing the spread of Covid-19 pandemic caused by the novel coronavirus on December 10, 2020. (Photo by JOEL SAGET …
JOEL SAGET/AFP via Getty Images

Chairman of the Commons Health Committee Jeremy Hunt has said the government should consider using GPS to track Britons ordered to self-isolate by the NHS’s Test and Trace system.

Jeremy Hunt, the former health secretary, claimed that “lockdown isn’t working fast enough” at slowing the virus because too many people with symptoms are not quarantining themselves.

“Closing borders and quarantine hotels is a sensible step…but we won’t address the heart of the problem unless we deal with the domestic transmission. We need to raise compliance with isolation to the 95%+ rates achieved in Korea, Taiwan, and Singapore,” Mr Hunt wrote on social media on Monday.

He claimed authorities must conduct “daily contact with those asked to self-isolate — using GPS tracking to monitor compliance if necessary, as happens in Taiwan and Poland.”

Speaking to BBC Radio 4’s Today programme on Tuesday, the influential Conservative MP said while he backed tightening controls on those foreign travellers entering the country from high-corona-risk nations, he claimed the “elephant in the room is not the 10,000 or so people arriving in the UK every day” but the “30,000 people in the UK already who are asked to quarantine by test and trace and are not doing so”.

Mr Hunt told the broadcaster: “We may also need to enforce more compliance, but I think you can only do that if you’re making people a reasonable offer to support them financially for any losses they may have from having to stay at home.”

Last week, Downing Street denied that it was planning on handing out £500 to everyone in England who tests positive for coronavirus to ensure they self-isolate. The proposal was part of a leaked policy document from the health department and would cost the British taxpayer £2 billion a month.

The Commons Health Committee chairman continued: “If the vaccine distribution is to be effective, and if we’re to succeed in doing it before we get new variants that could potentially threaten it, then we need to look at compliance with test and trace very urgently.”

Mr Hunt was referencing the NHS’s Test and Trace system where those who test positive for the Chinese virus are ordered to self-isolate for ten days from when they first exhibited symptoms. They must also give contact details of those they have recently interacted with and the places they have visited.

“If NHS Test and Trace contact tracers are unable to contact you for 24 hours, they may pass your case to your local authority to follow up by phone or in person,” the government says.

While there have been a few protests against the draconian lockdown measures in the UK, recent polling has revealed Britons to have an appetite for more police state interventions in their private lives.

Last week it was revealed that nearly half, 45 per cent, of Britons polled back the government surveilling people’s mobile phone data in the enforcement of lockdown measures, with 42 per cent opposed. The week before, another poll found that 46 per cent of people believe that police have not been strict enough, and should crack down harder on those who allegedly break COVID laws.


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