In a national first, South Australia has this week expanded its home quarantine trial to Australians returning from overseas.
Premier Steven Marshall said the expanded trial was part of the State Liberal Government’s strong COVID Recovery Plan and follows a very successful start utilising the Home Quarantine SA app in South Australia.
“The innovative Home Quarantine SA app has received great feedback from users, with about 50 people involved in the domestic trial so far. 18 of those people have successfully completed the trial so far, with the remainder expected to complete their quarantine in coming days,” said Premier Marshall.
“What we learn from the domestic and international Home Quarantine SA trials could help the entire nation to safely repatriate more Australians coming home from overseas.
“Our medi-hotel program has been highly successful in keeping South Australia safe, but allowing people to quarantine at home will not only reduce the burden on our Medi-Hotel system but it will improve conditions for returning Australians.
“Every South Australian should feel proud that we are the national pilot for home-based quarantine and the role it could play in bringing stranded Australians home, while keeping our community safe.”
The international traveller trial will involve about 90 Australian Defence Force (ADF) personnel who are returning from lower-risk countries.
All participants have been pre-selected and must be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 and have a suitable home available that is self-contained and does not have shared corridors, lifts or other facilities.
They will travel in their own vehicles from the RAAF Base to their accommodation with a SAPOL escort, where they will stay for the full 14 days of their quarantine period.
The trial participants will need to provide a negative test result 72 hours before the flight departs for Australia, then on arrival in the country and again on Day 3, 5, 7, 9 and 13.
Minister for Health and Wellbeing Stephen Wade said the strict measures surrounding the trial were in place to reduce the risk of COVID-19 entering the South Australian community.
“This trial will provide us with important feedback on the viability of adding home quarantine as another option for Australians returning home from overseas, but it must be done in the safest way possible,” said Minister Wade.
“Throughout the pandemic, quarantine has been one of our most important forms of defence from the virus and, as we further increase vaccination rates, it is hoped that expanding international quarantine to home isolation will become more prevalent.
“I want to thank the ADF and the participants of the pilot for their role in helping us trial a safe, sustainable and cost-effective alternative to medi-hotel quarantine.”
The Home Quarantine SA app will undertake random location check-ins using live facial verification three times a day, while SAPOL will conduct at least one random physical compliance check for each participant between the hours of 2000 – 0800hrs [CP(1] during the trial period.
Deputy Chief Public Health Officer, Doctor Emily Kirkpatrick, said the Home Quarantine SA app will provide users with a one-stop-shop for their quarantine period, including up to date public health information.
“While the app will importantly monitor compliance, it’s been designed to provide essential support and resources to its users,” said Dr Kirkpatrick.
“Daily symptom checking and access to support and resources will help us look after the health and wellbeing of the participants during the trial.
“The app will include handy reminders of the users testing schedule and expected quarantine completion date, with users receiving an end of quarantine certificate via the app once they’ve received a negative day 14 test.
“If the trial is successful, the app could add another solution to safely quarantine returning Australians.”
Following assessment of the initial trial, SA Health will review the opportunity to extend the pilot to other cohorts.