“Smart” quarantine and “blanket” quarantine: the Czech response to the COVID-19 pandemic
By the end of May 2020, the Czech response to the COVID-19 pandemic has been recognized as a “success” following the fast introduction of strict nationwide preventive measures, nicknamed a “blanket quarantine”. This article focuses on the alternative and rival concept of a “smart quarantine”, which emerged at the beginning of the lockdown. Inspired by Korean and Singaporean anti-COVID-19 smart city solutions, a group of ICT professionals volunteered to develop a system that promised to help limit the spread of the infection and, at the same time, ease the nationwide lockdown within a foreseeable time. The idea was received enthusiastically, yet, two months later, smart solutions are still not fully integrated. This article reconstructs the story of the smart quarantine in Czechia and suggests considering possible societal consequences of unsatisfactorily valid smart tracing methodologies. Rather than seeing lockdown and smart solutions as opposite approaches to the current risk, it shows that a hybrid strategy may be considered, if not necessary, especially in contexts where smart solutions have been previously applied only to a limited extent.