HONG KONG (AP) — It sits on your wrist, just as a wristwatch would. And in a moment when the world fears infections more than almost anything, it knows exactly where you are.

Since late March, residents returning to Hong Kong have been required to undergo a two-week quarantine at home, in a hotel or at a government facility as part of stepped-up efforts to curb the spread of the coronavirus.

To ensure people don’t flout quarantine, the semi-autonomous Chinese city issued mandatory wristbands to all arrivals, to be worn for the entirety of the two-week period.

Those required to go through the two-week quarantine are unable to leave their homes and must rely on food or grocery delivery for meals. Government officers also conduct random checks on their homes to make sure they have not broken quarantine.

That’s what happened to Zen Soo, a Hong Kong-based technology writer for The Associated Press.

For two weeks, she was confined to her apartment, waiting out a quarantine designed to ensure she didn’t have COVID-19. The wristband was her constant companion. Early versions were glitchy, and the government admitted that only a third of them worked. Later ones include a Bluetooth-enabled version that connects to the user’s smartphone to monitor movements.


And so it did for her, as her colleague, AP photographer Vincent Yu, chronicled her experience. In this series of photos, you’ll see her live her life in lockdown, waiting for the moment when she could rejoin the world.

Just like many around the planet, she persevered. She worked out. She did her job, remotely. She took her temperature and monitored her numbers. Occasionally, she stuck her head out of her urban apartment window to capture some coveted fresh air.

And she waited — for it all to be over, for the all-clear to arrive. Which, eventually it did. She pushed the “finish the quarantine” button in her phone’s app and went back to her virus-era life.