Changes to quarantine arrangements
Former health official Jane Halton ran the ABC News channel through some of the proposed changes a short time ago.
She said there were two main reasons for the changes. Expense and an increased number of people returning to Australia.
Ms Halton said the options were to use camps, like the Howard Springs camp near Darwin, or using electronic monitoring so people can quarantine at home, similar to what is being used in Singapore.
The other thrust of the proposal is to use a traffic light system to assess risk from various countries.
“I recommended that consideration be given to not quarantining people arriving from New Zealand. The Kiwi cousins are beating us on this at the moment. They’re the envy of the world.
“[For] red or high-risk jurisdictions, I think the answer is pretty clear.
“So, for people coming from amber jurisdictions, this is where we do need to think about whether home quarantine might be an option. The combination of testing and tracking and monitoring might give us much greater capacity. And then, as we’ve already said, places like Howard Springs provide options as well.”
Ms Halton said there was also an option to having shorter spells of quarantine.
“Could we use what other countries are – seven days’ worth of quarantine, combined with some kind of tracking and testing arrangement?
“Again, this is being used elsewhere and with some success.
“In this way, if you think about a hotel bed being tied up for 14 days versus being tied up for seven days, combined with testing and tracking, well, then basically you can bring twice the number of people home than you currently can.
“It’s got to be based on evidence, and it’s gotta to be judged to be safe for the broader community.”