Volunteer group welcomes state’s new weapon against quarantine violators


HONOLULU (KHON2) — The state’s new digital tracking system to catch quarantine violators could make a big difference. The governor says it should be in place by the end of the week, but volunteers say there will always be those willing to find loopholes.

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Roughly 2,000 tourists and residents arrive in Hawaii daily who are supposed to go on 14-day quarantine. A volunteer group that works with the state known as the Hawaii Quarantine Kapu Breakers says the new digital system the state plans to unveil will be a good deterrent because there are too many travelers ignoring the law.

“I’m now getting reports on the hour, like two or three an hour, and those are both locals and visitors and there’s all kinds of work arounds,” said Angela Keen, Administrator of the Hawaii Quarantine Kapu Breakers.

The digital platform would require travelers to put their personal information into an app that the state monitors. It’s basically the same information in the forms that they fill out on the plane. The state can then text travelers and in doing so, can determine if they are where they’re supposed to be staying through the phone’s GPS.

Keen adds that having all the information in one digital source makes it easier to track everyone. Because police from different counties as well as officers from the State Attorney General’s office will have access to it. But she says there will always be those who will find a way to get around the law.

“There’s always a workaround no mater how you play it and I think until this is over Hawaii Quarantine Kapu Breakers are always gonna be here to be the eyes and ears for the community to keep everybody safe,” said Keen.

She says the group now has more than 6,000 members. She has spoken with the State Attorney General about other preventive measures, like having volunteers serve as a welcome committee at the airports, and give friendly reminders to arriving passengers.

“To say welcome and just know that we have our eyes on you, the community is watching, we hope that you stay safe. That kind of a welcome can really deter somebody from breaking quarantine,” said Keen.

The group is looking forward to having the digital platform online to make travelers think twice. But members have no plans to disband anytime soon.

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