Covid-19 Australia: How Victoria is using selfies in plan to end hotel quarantine


How selfies will be used to help public health officers make sure returned travellers are isolating at home once hotel quarantine is scrapped

  • Australians required to send a selfie to an app within five minutes of being asked 
  • Will be used with location technology to prove they are self-isolating at home 
  • Victoria, NSW and South Australia all running small-scale home quarantine trials 
  • Comes amid reports Aussie border will be open for double-jabbed by Christmas 


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Australians returning from overseas will be required to take selfies at home as part of an ambitious plan to phase out the hotel quarantine program.

Victorian Health Minister Martin Foley on Tuesday said those taking part in the state’s home quarantine trial would be asked to take photos of themselves and upload it to a smartphone app to prove they are self-isolating.

Residents need to send the selfie within five minutes of being prompted to prevent follow-up calls from health authorities or a knock at the door from police. 

NSW and South Australia are also running small-scale home quarantine trials using location technology and facial recognition to monitor compliance.

A passenger wearing a face mask is seen checking in at Melbourne Airport. Victorians returning from overseas will be required to take selfies at home as part of a new home quarantine trial

A passenger wearing a face mask is seen checking in at Melbourne Airport. Victorians returning from overseas will be required to take selfies at home as part of a new home quarantine trial

Mr Foley said the trial will run for four weeks and be open to residents over the age of 18 who have access to a smartphone. 

‘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,’ he said.

‘It links back to location-based technology to confirm both the place you are, and your identity at the time of the alert.

‘This will assist Victorians coming back from both overseas and internationally sooner rather than later as part of the national plan.’ 

The announcement comes amid reports the international border will be flung open to fully-vaccinated Australians by Christmas, with home quarantine only required for seven days. 

There will likely be no travel bubbles imposed, with double-jabbed residents free to fly to any country anywhere in the world, 9News reported. 

NSW Tourism Minister Stuart Ayres earlier this month announced a similar trial in his state from the end of September to allow a limited number of resident to quarantine at home.

A return traveler prepares to board a quarantine bus at Sydney International Airport on September 8.  NSW and South Australia are also running small-scale home quarantine trials using location technology and facial recognition to monitor compliance

A return traveler prepares to board a quarantine bus at Sydney International Airport on September 8.  NSW and South Australia are also running small-scale home quarantine trials using location technology and facial recognition to monitor compliance

A return traveler prepares to board a quarantine bus at Sydney International Airport on September 8.  NSW and South Australia are also running small-scale home quarantine trials using location technology and facial recognition to monitor compliance

Two residents are seen walking along the Tan in Melbourne as lockdown in the city continues

Two residents are seen walking along the Tan in Melbourne as lockdown in the city continues

Two residents are seen walking along the Tan in Melbourne as lockdown in the city continues 

Thirty participants a week will be chosen by NSW Health to take part 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. 

Qantas air crew will take part in the trial, which the minister said was a ‘logical’ decision given flight staff work on tight turnaround times. 

South Australia’s trial requires arrivals to provide a negative test result 72 hours before their flight departs for Australia, another when they land and then further tests on days three, five, seven, nine and 13. 

They were also subject to random location check-ins using live facial verification three times a day, while police will conduct at least one random physical compliance check each night. 

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