Australia

South Australia begins first trial of home quarantine planned for returned overseas travellers

The first person to take part in a trial that could ultimately allow Australians returning from overseas to quarantine at home has begun their isolation period in Adelaide.

Premier Steven Marshall says about 50 people will take part in the trial which will involve South Australians returning from NSW or Victoria.

He expects the first international travellers to use the technology from next month.

Anyone involved in the trial or the ongoing program must be fully vaccinated and have a safe and secure place to quarantine, away from other members of their family.

Those people will be electronically monitored for the 14-day quarantine period using geolocation and facial recognition technology through a mobile phone application.

They will be contacted at random times during the day and must respond within 15 minutes.

Missed check-ins will be followed by phone calls, which if unanswered will prompt a police check.

Travellers must also complete a daily symptom check through the app, which is similar to checking in on a QR code, which could trigger a visit by health officials.

“This will ultimately be used when Australians who have been double vaccinated go overseas and come back into South Australia,” Mr Marshall told reporters on Monday.

“If it’s safe to do so, they will do that (quarantine) from their home using the technology to make sure that we can minimise any risk.”

The premier said the data would not be stored but used simply to verify people were staying in their homes.

He will report the results to the national cabinet within the next few weeks with an expectation, that if successful, the program could be rolled out to other states.

“We expect people to cooperate. This is a great alternative to being in a hotel room for a two-week period with the associated cost with that,” he said.

“It’s something that we took to national cabinet a month or two ago, where we said look it’s going to be implausible, as we start to open up our international borders, to have everybody in the hotel quarantine situation.

“As we have more people in quarantine it’s going to be very, very resource-intensive to have police going around and checking so instead we are going to be using technology.”

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