Electronic wristbands could help enforce home quarantine as the government looks ahead to reopening international travel with less reliance on the current caps on arrivals and 14-day mandatory user-pays hotel isolation.
The lightweight GPS-enabled bracelets are already used in a number of countries including Singapore, Hong Kong and South Korea.
They typically connect to a smartphone app and are used to make sure people actually stay at home by reporting the wearer's location to a government monitoring service.
Singapore's wristband, which also generates an alert if it has been removed or tampered with, is complemented by a program under which the wearer receives text messages, phone calls and sometimes even video calls from the country's health agency, which must be responded to.
UK-based advocacy group Privacy International has suggested that the use of technology tracking devices to help stem the spread of Covid-19 should be "temporary, necessary, and proportionate" and that "when the pandemic is over, such extraordinary measures must be put to an end."
The Australian Health Protection Principal Committee, which comprises all state and territory chief health officers under the leadership of Australia's Chief Medical Officer, is now holding discussions on the use of electronic monitoring devices for some returning travellers.
Those travellers would like be arrivals from low-risk countries where a two-way travel bubble does not exist – such as New Zealand, the Pacific Islands, Singapore and Japan – under a new 'traffic light' system proposed to nations according to how they were tracking with COVID-19 infections.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison last week said that the National Security Committee was "considering options for home isolation" based on expert medical advice from the committee.
A spokeswoman for the Victorian state government confirmed to The Age that discussions are underway at both state and federal levels on how electronic wristbands might be rolled out for international flights.
The federal government is under increasing pressure to ease up on restrictions which now prohibit most Australians from heading overseas, as well as helping to bring home the more than 25,000 Australians stranded overseas.
The practical limits of hotel quarantine program are said to be behind the current cap on the number of people arriving on international flights, which today is pegged at under 6,000 people per week.
This in turn has led airlines to reduce and in some cases suspend flights to Australia, as in many cases the aircraft can carry only 30-50 passengers in order to stay within each city's allocated arrivals limit.