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The first signs of quarantine in Australia after the country reaches its vaccination targets have been revealed in an NSW pilot ‘at home’ programme.
For a four-week trial, Premier Gladys Berejiklian announced on Friday that 175 fully-vaccinated returned travellers will be allowed to self-isolate for seven days rather than a fortnight in the hotel quarantine system.
State Tourism Minister Stuart Ayres announced that beginning in late September, about 30 people per week will be randomly selected by NSW Health to participate in the trial.
Participants must have received both doses of a Covid-19 vaccine accredited by the Therapeutic Goods Administration and will be pre-selected for home quarantine before their flight.
HOW WILL THE NSW HOME QUARANTINE TRIAL WORK?
How long will returned travellers in the home quarantine trial be in self-isolation?
Seven days, rather than the standard 14 days in hotel quarantine
How will police track people in-home quarantine to make sure they are actually self-isolating?
The program will build on the existing home quarantine trial in South Australia and use facial recognition and location technology to monitor compliance.
No exact details have been given yet about the exact process, but the SA trial subjected participants to random location check-ins using live facial verification three times a day
What are the rules about vaccines?
Participants must have received both doses of a Covid-19 vaccine accredited by the Therapeutic Goods Administration
Unvaccinated children can take part as long as their adult family members have received both jabs.
When will the hotel quarantine end?
Officials haven’t set an exact date for when home quarantine will replace the 14-day hotel quarantine requirement.
But Tourism Minister Stuart Ayres said the goal was to eventually end hotel quarantine for travellers who are fully vaccinated.
How will participants be selected?
Those taking part will be pre-selected for home quarantine before their flight and chosen at random from a range of different accommodation types, age groups and family situations.
‘We are sending a really clear signal that the future of hotel quarantine will end for people who are double vaccinated,’ Mr Ayres said.
‘This is an important step in getting to that objective.’
Mr Ayres stated that travellers will be selected from a variety of accommodation types, age groups, and family situations to ensure that the trial is representative of the larger population.
The pilots of Qantas will also take part in the trial, which the minister called a “logical” one given the short turnaround times of flight crews.
Children who are not yet eligible for the Covid-19 vaccine will be allowed to take part in the trial if their other family members have received both shots.
‘We want to expand the number of people who can come back to Sydney as quickly as possible,’ Mr Ayres said.
‘We want Australians coming back through Sydney Airport – we want international tourists coming through Sydney.’
Facial recognition and geolocation technology will be used to track adherence to the program’s requirements, building on the success of the current South Australian home quarantine trial.
Participants in the trial had to provide a negative test result 72 hours before their flight to Australia departs, another upon arrival, and then further tests on days three, five, seven, nine, and 13.
They were also subjected to random location check-ins using live facial verification three times a day, while police conduct at least one random physical compliance checks every night.