Electronic surveillance plan to allow home quarantine of arrivals

Stranded Australians could return home earlier under a national proposal to use electronic devices to monitor travelers at home and ease pressure on hotel quarantine in every state.

The proposal is being submitted to the national cabinet as a way to expand the quarantine system and add to the 5,575 international arrivals allowed each week in Sydney, Perth, Brisbane and Adelaide.

International arrivals could be tagged with electronic surveillance as part of a hotel quarantine overhaul proposal.Credit:Brendan Esposito

National hotel quarantine review manager Jane Halton said it would be up to travelers to choose the modeled option of a system in Singapore that requires people to wear wristbands to track their location .

“We are looking to see if, in fact, the combination of electronic monitoring of people, if it is their choice, with much more testing, could allow more people than currently to quarantine at home, s ‘they can do it safely,’ Ms Halton told ABC TV on Friday.

Travelers arriving in Singapore have been using a “Stay At Home” Gateway device using 5G mobile phone networks and global positioning system (GPS) navigation since August to perform 14-day quarantine at home.

Ms Halton cited Singapore’s approach in her review of hotel quarantine in Australia, although her report ruled out Victoria given the separate commission of inquiry into state system failures.

Ms Halton is a former Secretary of the Federal Ministry of Health and is now Director of the ANZ Group and Crown Resorts, as well as Chair of the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations.

While she acknowledged privacy concerns with 5G devices to track location, Ms Halton said it might be better than quarantining hotels for some.

“I think the thing to remember is that for a lot of people the choice, if they have it, [is] between spending 14 days in a hotel room and spending time at home with a portable device, ”she said.

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