The quarantine at home of vaccinated returned travelers has an extremely low risk and will not harm their mental health


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Many thousands of people have to return to Australia and many at home want to reunite with couples and family abroad.

Moving away from a single approach to quarantine is one way to make this happen, including domestic quarantine for vaccinated returnees.

He implemented domestic quarantine for a short period of March 2020, before switching to mandatory hotel quarantine for returned residents and other incoming passengers.

But circumstances have changed considerably (most importantly, access to effective vaccines) require their reintroduction despite caution among politicians and the community.

The low rate of positive cases and the proven effectiveness of other security measures to limit violations make quarantine a persuasive strategy.

It is worth remembering the people who hire COVID and their contacts who have been successfully isolated at home since the pandemic began.

How will we make sure it is safe?

There are several layers of protection that would ensure an extremely limited risk of home quarantine for travelers returned abroad fully vaccinated.

The first requires a negative COVID test within three days of departure, which is currently a requirement for all returnees.

The second is vaccination against COVID. Recent studies indicate that full vaccination is provided 60-90% reduction in infection risk. In cases where fully vaccinated people become infected, these “advanced cases” they are less infectious.

It is also important to test returnees in domestic quarantine. A positive case would trigger proof of any contact and may extend personal isolation.

In addition, high levels of testing in the wider community can ensure early detection of outbreaks, allowing a rapid public health response to limit the spread, if leaked out of domestic quarantine.

The risk would be extremely low

Data from the hotel quarantine in New South Wales, which takes about half of travelers returning to Australia, suggest that quarantine at home for fully vaccinated returnees would pose an extremely low risk.

In 2021, NSW analyzed about 4,700 returnees a week, with the proportion of positive cases detected during quarantine. about 0.6% on average.

Since March 1, since vaccination has become more accessible, only eight of the 406 positive cases have been fully vaccinated.

Unfortunately, we do not have global data on the number of fully vaccinated returnees returned, but even if there were only 10-20%, this would equate to a positive rate of approximately 6-12 per 10,000 among those vaccinated. This is considerably lower than the overall rate of 66 COVID cases per 10,000 as of March 1st.

If domestic quarantine were initially restricted to fully vaccinated returnees from countries with low to moderate loads, the rate would again be lower, probably less than five per 10,000.

If NSW increased its quarantine contribution by taking an extra 2,500 per week from this population to domestic quarantine, it would equate to a few positive cases per month, compared to the 120 monthly hotel quarantine cases. As vaccine uptake increases, this capacity could be expanded, with a reduction in hotel quarantine requirements.

Will people comply?

The huge desire for stranded Australian residents, overseas partners and the family of Australian residents to come back and reunite should ensure a high level of domestic quarantine compliance.

Domestic quarantine has been successfully implemented in other countries with elimination strategies such as Taiwan and Singapore. The Taiwanese system deployed quickly and meets 99.7%. Singapore uses a rating system to allow lower-risk returned residents to do seven days of quarantine at home, with a negative test needed to release them on the seventh day.

Two major revisions to the hotel quarantine system: the Victorian government in charge Report elbows, and the national review of hotel quarantine—Recommended to implement home quarantine with control technology, such as electronic wristbands. His recommendations were made before the vaccines were approved.

Recent data suggest that the current hotel quarantine system has harmful effects. Research published in the Medical Journal of Australia in April Found were responsible for 19% of all emergency department presentations among people in NSW hotel quarantine. It is very likely that domestic quarantine will be more beneficial to the mental health of returnees.

What are the barriers?

Issues that should be sorted include:

  • methods for determining the risk that different countries have
  • as can be shown by returnees who have been vaccinated
  • how we would test returnees and contacts at home and how often
  • and how long the quarantine would last at home.

But none of them is unsurpassed and on a small scale quarantine already exists in the ACT.

Health authorities could ensure that returnees can collect their own samples of COVID tests, for example by making nasal swabs or collecting saliva themselves. This would reduce contact with health workers.

Undoubtedly, COVID’s main Australian political committees are considering domestic quarantine, along with other measures to allow more returnees and increase the security of system.

The excessive caution of Australians continues to have a direct impact on the well-being of many thousands of stranded Australian residents, along with non-resident couples and family members desperate to return.

It is time to change this situation and make their human rights a public health priority.

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