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Self-quarantined Moscow professor says she was fined for failing to install the city’s mobile tracking software

Update: City officials canceled the fine imposed on Irina Karabulatova, after concluding that she never violated self-quarantine.

A university professor in Moscow says she was fined 4,000 rubles (about $55) for failing to install an app on her smartphone that would allow the city to track her movements and ensure that she remains self-quarantined. Irina Karabulatova says she’s been bed-ridden for a year already due to an illness and has not been diagnosed with COVID-19. 

Though Professor Karabulatova has not published any photographic evidence of the fine itself, Moscow Main Control Department head Evgeny Danchikov told the radio station Govorit Moskva that he will look into the matter.

Karabulatova says a doctor recently visited her home and diagnosed her with an acute respiratory viral infection. As a containment measure during the coronavirus pandemic, Moscow physicians are ordering patients with such infections to self-quarantine for two weeks. Karabulatova says she signed a document acknowledging these restrictions.

According to Moscow Department of Information Technology head Eduard Lysenko, the doctor’s orders issued to self-quarantining patients specify that they have 24 hours to install the “Social Monitoring” app, which allows the authorities to track an individual’s movements, to ensure that they do not leave their homes. Patients are supposed to receive a text message reminding them of this requirement.

Professor Karabulatova says no one ever called her or asked if she is capable of installing the app. She told Meduza that she has been unable to install the app. On Facebook, she has complained that the city promised to provide mobile devices equipped with Social Monitoring to persons who cannot run the app themselves. In April, the city said it would supply these devices to persons diagnosed with COVID-19.

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