Quebec police are ramping up efforts to enforce social distancing and isolation requirements. A spokesperson for the Sûreté du Québec (SQ) confirmed to MTL Blog that the provincial police force is prepared to use cell phone geolocation to find people with COVID-19 who are not in isolation. But this measure could only be used in specific circumstances.
First, the SQ would receive an emergency request from the regional public health service to locate an individual diagnosed with COVID-19.
The police would begin with attempts to find the person through regular means, the spokesperson says, including by calling their close contacts and visiting their workplace.
If those efforts are unsuccessful, the SQ would then make a request to the person's cell phone service to access geolocation information.
However, police would have to demonstrate that they had already exhausted standard methods of locating the individual.
To date, the SQ has not had to use phone geolocation to find an infected individual.
The spokesperson further underlines that cell phone geolocation data would not be used outside of these circumstances. The SQ will not track people to ensure their compliance with an isolation mandate.
But the announcement nevertheless demonstrates the lengths to which police forces are prepared to go in the current situation.
The news also follows a request from Premier François Legault for police across the province to be "less tolerant" of social distancing rule-breakers.
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