Australia’s First Home Quarantine Trial Kicks Off This Week, Here’s How It Works

Australia’s First Home Quarantine Trial Kicks Off This Week, Here’s How It Works
Source: Getty / Kelly Barnes

South Australia is trialing an at-home quarantine program and the results could have huge implications to quarantine facilities across the country. Here’s everything you need to know about it.

Who is eligible for the at-home quarantine trial?

Starting this week, anyone who returns to South Australia from New South Wales or Victoria will be eligible to quarantine at home instead of in a quarantined hotel.

According to Adelaide Now, the trial will be offered to 50 interstate or overseas travellers who have an SA Police-approved address, are over the age 16 years old and speak English as a first language, and for overseas returning travellers, are fully vaccinated.

That said, with the state announcing plans to close the Victoria/South Australia border and that returning South Australians have to apply for an exemption to return, this new trial seemingly mostly applies to people who have recently returned to the state.

How does South Australia’s at-home quarantine system work?

According to South Australian Premier Steven Marshall via the ABC, the state uses geolocation and facial recognition software through a person’s wifi to track people quarantining at home.

From there, they contact them at random and require them to provide proof of their location within 15 minutes. Failure to respond to these phone calls will result in a police check.

Gizmodo Australia has reached out to South Australia Health for clarification on what can be defined as proof of one’s location.

Speaking with the ABC, Marshall said that the technology will be more resource-efficient than SA Police manually checking each person is doing the right.

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

“I think we’ve got the best QR code check-in app in the country… and I think this is another step forward using technology.”

People who quarantine at home will also be required to leave a sign at the front of their home.

“They will be given a quarantine sign and be given a personal direction by an authorised officer to display that sign on the front of the premises they’re quarantining at for the 14-day period,” Commissioner Grant Stevens told ABC Radio Adelaide.

When will the rest of the country be able to quarantine at home?

There’s no exact date as to when the rest of us will be able to quarantine at home. Ultimately, it all depends on the results of these SA trials.

The South Australian Premier will present the state’s findings on the at-home quarantine trial in the next few weeks. If they find it successful, it’s likely the idea may be implemented in other states and territories, but we won’t know until at least a month from now.

Back when the pandemic first hit our shores, the Western Australia Government turned Rottnest Island into a temporary quarantine facility.