Returned travellers to submit SELFIES in move to scrap hotel quarantine

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·News Reporter
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Innovative moves are being taken to ensure Australians can travel once again despite Covid cases lingering around.

Victoria’s Health Minister Martin Foley told reporters on Tuesday he is asking residents in his state who are isolating at home to take part in a trial as part of a strategy outlined by the National Cabinet.

Mr Foley said a new app will allow people to check-in for quarantine at home. South Australia has implemented a trial with similar technology.

A woman holds a smartphone. Also pictured is a man walking through Melbourne Airport.
A new plan could see returned travellers quarantining at home and confirming their isolation by taking selfies. Source: Getty Images

“This will assist Victorians coming back from both overseas and internationally sooner rather than later as part of the national plan,” he said.

“This app uses a downloaded picture from a smartphone, a selfie, to check in where you are meant to be and when you are meant to be there. It links back to location-based technology to confirm both the place you are, and your identity at the time of the alert.”

Mr Foley said people using the app will receive an alert and have five minutes to respond. If the response is not received by the public health team there could be visits or follow-up calls.

The trial will run for four weeks with participants aged 18 and over with access to smartphones.

The end in sight for international border closures

There has already been talk hotel quarantines will be a thing of the past at least once vaccinations across Australia cross the 80 per cent double dose threshold.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison will soon end the international border closures which commenced in March 2020, News.com.au reported.

Some states, like Western Australia, however, may continue to keep their borders shut.

Passengers wearing face masks arrive on a Virgin Australia flight into Ballina Byron Gateway Airport.
Passengers arrive at Ballina Byron Gateway Airport in April. Source: Getty Images

NSW likely will not be one of those states though. NSW Minister for Tourism Stuart Ayres earlier this month said a trial will begin at the end of September with travellers quarantining at home for seven days instead of 14 in hotels.

"This is a trial to be able to test and identify ways in which we can change the future of quarantine," Mr Ayres said. 

"We know we have a functional and very stable working system around 14 days, but we want to be able to reduce the time people have to stay in quarantine. We are taking the advice of help to reduce that exposure. 

"It's something we want to be able to do in the longer term and if we can continue to reduce that even lower we will."

Qantas will conduct the trial with 125 people not including 50 airline staff. Qantas Group CEO Alan Joyce last week said unvaccinated people would be banned from all international flights and flagged UK, Japan, Singapore, Fiji and North America as places Aussies can travel to by Christmas “if the states keep to the national plan”.

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