There're plenty of articles written about how South Korea has helped contain its COVID-19 outbreak. Example.

One paragraph in particular catches my eye:

People ordered into self-quarantine must download another app, which alerts officials if a patient ventures out of isolation. Fines for violations can reach $2,500.

The same paragraph in another article:

That person is then put under monitored self-isolation for two weeks, using an app that tracks his phone to insure that he isn’t breaking quarantine.

How would this work for people without mobile phones? Does the state provide these people with a phone? I've not been able to find details anywhere.

  • 1
    No idea how accurate this is, but this article says that cellphone penetration is 100% with 95% being smart phones. So maybe it’s just not a problem? sbs.com.au/news/south-korea-leads-growth-in-smartphones
    – divibisan
    Apr 19, 2020 at 0:14
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    There's still the 5% that doesn't own a smartphone though - presumably those will not be able to download the app.
    – Allure
    Apr 19, 2020 at 0:18
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    @Allure - I don't think you need 100% mobile phone owners for overall effectiveness (contact tracing is just one technique to containing the virus). There are very few people who do not own a mobile phone at all. Even if some do not own a smart phone they could still receive messages like "you have walked next to someone who might be infected" and the person is more likely to get tested. I think the non-mobile phone owners that are also active (i.e. walking in the streets, public transportation) are few enough not to be a serious infection vector.
    – Alexei
    Apr 19, 2020 at 4:33
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    I hope you realize that they can leave their phone at home, so that's not the only quarantine enforcement mechanism. Also your q confuses contract tracing with quarantine enforcement.
    – Fizz
    Apr 21, 2020 at 5:56
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    @Fizz: if I remember correctly, people in quarantine are called twice a day. Police is sent to check people that don't answer. For example, the police visited a girl that didn't answer because she was taking a shower at that time. Source: stories from expat groups on Facebook (I am living in South Korea). In Singapore, people in quarantine were contacted through video calls and asked to show their appartment during the call.
    – Taladris
    May 20, 2020 at 14:05

1 Answer 1


The person to be quarantined must provide the address of the place of residence and the landline telephone number of the place of residence. Subsequently, the person in quarantine can receive hand sanitizers, masks, rice, masks, fruits, food, etc., and receive phone calls from the local government several times a day. Through this, check the health status of the quarantined persons and check whether they have left the residence. If you do not answer the phone, after several repeated attempts, if you do not answer the phone for a certain period of time, we will confirm your visit. Perhaps this periodic currency will also help to keep the quarantine psychological stable.


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