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Hawaii Enlists Online Program To Help Enforce Travel Quarantine

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Sgt. John Schoebel/Army National Guard via AP
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This April 6, 2020 photo from the Hawaii Army National Guard shows Spc. James Kamaka, 1st Squadron, 299th Cavalry, Hawaii National Guard screening departing passengers at the Daniel K. Inouye International Airport in Honolulu.

The state of Hawaii said Friday it wants travelers to use an online program to provide information about their travel plans to help authorities enforce a 14-day coronavirus quarantine imposed on people arriving in the islands.

The program asks travelers to provide a name, phone number, flight information and address where they will be staying.

Until now the state has had travelers fill out paper forms with this information.

The number of travelers flying to Hawaii has dropped dramatically since Gov. David Ige announced the quarantine order in late March. But hundreds continue to arrive.

On Saturday, 404 people came to the islands, including 89 visitors and 147 returning residents.

Travelers using the online program will be asked to check in daily to attest they are at their quarantine location and to answer questions about their health.

The program does not have the ability to check a traveler’s location using cell phone GPS. It only asks for traveler location when they initially register their trip.

The state was still looking into location identification options because the state attorney general's office raised civil liberties concerns about that technology, said Rona Suzuki, the director of the state Department of Taxation whose department helped develop the technology.

Travelers who don’t have internet access or who refuse to use this online program will submit their information with the paper form. State officials will follow up with these travelers like before, by calling them to make sure they are in their quarantine location and asking them health questions.

Ige said the web application was one way the state was improving its enforcement.

He said the state was also studying the possibility of adopting a smartphone app that would allow for the capture of location information.

“We will be looking at the legal issues involved with that and rolling that out,” Ige said.

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