Plans are in motion to set up a home quarantine trial for around 100 returning Australians, likely starting in September.
The system, to be tested in South Australia, will be available only for those who have already been fully vaccinated in Australia – with Pfizer or AstraZeneca.
The option will most likely be offered to Paralympians and members of the defence force who have travelled to low-risk countries with adequate tracing measures.
The national cabinet agreed at a meeting on 9 July to start the pilot program, saying it would “take significant pressure off the hotel quarantine system”.
Following the meeting, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said: “South Australia has indicated their intention to go forward as the host jurisdiction for that home quarantine trial, which would be a two-week quarantine period based on the advice received from the medical expert panel.
“And we’ll be working with South Australia to put that pilot in place as soon as possible. That will be a transparent project with all the other states and territories,” he said.
“It will be run, of course, by South Australia, but with the active engagement and visibility of all the other states and territories, so they are in a position to pick up that project on the completion of a successful pilot program.
“If you’re able to make this work, it means in phases, particularly phase three, but even potentially in phase two, you have a greater opportunity for Australians who are vaccinated to be able to leave Australia and come back and put no pressure on the hotel quarantine system.”
Tourism minister Dan Tehan hopes the home quarantining system could be in place before the Christmas holiday period.
“Obviously it would depend on Australians continuing to roll up their sleeves and get vaccinated, and if we can continue down that track then ultimately it would be wonderful to see home quarantine being used in the lead-up to Christmas,” he said.
Should all go well, travellers coming to Australia, who have been immunised overseas with a vaccine that Australia recognises, could also be allowed to home quarantine.
Currently, those vaccines are Pfizer, AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson, with Moderna yet to be approved by the Therapeutic Goods Administration.
What do you think of home quarantine after travel? Would it make you more likely to travel again? Why not share your thoughts in the comments section below?
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