South Australia will further expand its app-based home quarantine system to cater for up to 250 returned travellers each week from October.
The system has so far been trialled on a number of arrivals from interstate and with about 90 Australian Defence Force personnel who returned this week from lower-risk countries.
Thirty people have so far successfully completed their 14-day quarantine period and have been released from isolation.
Health Minister Stephen Wade said the results indicated the system could safely manage home quarantine for selected people.
“We want to help South Australians to return home as quickly as possible, and implementing home quarantine using the app will help manage this safely,” he said.
“The home quarantine app will ensure we can protect the health and wellbeing of the individuals quarantining in their own homes as well as keeping the South Australian community safe from the spread of COVID-19.”
The system electronically monitors those in isolation, employing facial recognition and location technology along with in-person checks.
All participants so far were pre-selected and had to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 and have a suitable self-contained home with no shared corridors, lifts or other facilities.
They needed to return a negative test result 72 hours before their flight departs for Australia, another on arrival and then further tests on days three, five, seven, nine and 13.
They will be subject to random location check-ins using live facial verification three times a day, while police will conduct at least one random physical compliance check each night.
Deputy Chief Public Health Officer Emily Kirkpatrick said SA’s home quarantine system could help the nation to safely repatriate more Australians travelling home from overseas.
“The ongoing international trial is showing early signs of success and will allow us to review the viability of adding home quarantine as another option for Australians returning from overseas,” Dr Kirkpatrick said.
“The app not only allows us to monitor compliance, it also provides one-stop-shop support for the traveller whilst in quarantine, including information on their quarantine exit date, testing regime, managing wellbeing and up-to-date public health information.”
Following assessment of the current trial, SA Health will review which other groups of international arrivals could safely use the system.
On Friday, SA Health said the state had reached a major milestone in its vaccination program with 1.5 million doses administered.
It said more than 610,000 residents were now fully vaccinated.
SA reported no new COVID-19 infections on Friday. It is currently managing eight active infections, all acquired either interstate or overseas.
Australian Associated Press