A Hong Kong coronavirus quarantine electronic wristband has been found washed up on a beach in Taiwan, according to an environmental group.

Ocean Stamp said in a Facebook post that the wristband – intended to ensure people comply with mandatory coronavirus quarantine – was found on Qixingtan Beach in Hualien, Taiwan.

Hong Kong quarantine wristband found on the shores of Qixingtan Beach in Hualien, Taiwan. Photo: Ocean Stamps.

Emma Wong, founder of Ocean Stamps, told HKFP that her Taiwanese friend had posted the picture without knowing that the wristband was from Hong Kong.

She said a species of stalked barnacle was found stuck to the wristband, indicating that it had been in the sea for two to three weeks.

Hong Kong’s Innovation and Technology Bureau told HKFP the item in question was one of three types of disposable electronic wristband and was not considered medical waste.

“After people under quarantine have completed their quarantine period, they can deactivate the mobile application and cut the wristband by themselves, and do not have to arrange for recycling,” said the bureau.

The bureau said the government had distributed around 410,000 electronic wristbands to people under mandatory coronavirus quarantine, and only 27,000 of those were reusable.

“This concerns hygiene issues, especially during this time when the pandemic is serious. The first thing to consider is whether we can recyle these wristbands or manufacture them using more environmentally friendly materials,” said Wong.

Support HKFP  |  Code of Ethics  |  Error/typo?  |  Contact Us  |  Newsletter  | Transparency & Annual Report


Candice Chau

Candice is a reporter at Hong Kong Free Press. She previously worked as a researcher at a local think tank. She has a BSocSc in Politics and International Relations from the University of Manchester and a MSc in International Political Economy from London School of Economics.