Queensland introduces home isolation as hotel quarantine alternative

From Friday, eligible travellers entering Queensland will be able to quarantine at home, rather than a government-arranged hotel.

By Chris Chamberlin, July 28 2021
Queensland introduces home isolation as hotel quarantine alternative

Queensland will bundle fewer domestic travellers into hotel quarantine from Friday, with the state introducing home quarantine for those arriving from interstate hotspots.

From 1am on July 30 2021, this will be available to passengers eligible to enter Queensland from Victoria and South Australia – these being current ‘hotspots’ under Queensland’s local travel restrictions – although travelling from most parts of New South Wales still requires hotel quarantine.

“I think that the risk is significantly falling down in South Australia and Victoria, so we can modify our requirement and have people quarantine at home,” Queensland’s Chief Health Officer, Dr Jeannette Young, briefed media today.

Dr Young said the decision to allow home quarantine was influenced by very high levels of compliance with existing home quarantine requirements – such as from those identified as ‘close contacts’ of a positive COVID-19 case while already in the state.

“We also have increased compliance processes that we’re now using compared to a year ago.”

Chief Health Officer Dr Jeannette Young announcing the changes at Parliament House.. State of Queensland
Chief Health Officer Dr Jeannette Young announcing the changes at Parliament House.
State of Queensland

Home quarantine requires a “suitable residence”

Travellers permitted to enter Queensland from an interstate hotspot – that’s returning Queensland residents, and others granted an exemption to travel – will need a “suitable residence” for home quarantine.

Houses, townhouses and share houses are generally considered suitable, although a privately booked hotel room doesn’t qualify.

“If you were going into a hotel somewhere – outside of hotel quarantine – that wouldn’t be a suitable residence. You must have a home or appropriate residence (to be allowed) to home quarantine,” explains QLD’s Minister for Health, Yvette D’Ath.

However, those living in "apartment blocks with shared amenities" such as common lifts, stairwells or foyer areas may not qualify – and nor do those planning to stay in a caravan or tent.

Queensland Health confirms that those eligible for home quarantine aren’t confined to staying ‘indoors’, but must still remain within the bounds of their property.

This can include going “into the garden or courtyard”, as well as onto a balcony.

There will be “significant enforcement of compliance, and if anyone is found to be in breach of home quarantine, not only can they be fined but also can be required to go into hotel quarantine,” D’Ath warns.

How to get from the airport to home quarantine

Those destined for home quarantine must arrive in Queensland by air, and be living or staying within a safe two-hour driving distance from the airport.

The journey between the airport and home cannot be by public transport, such as Airtrain or SkyBus, or even rideshare or taxi.

Instead, the journey would only be possible in the traveller's own private car (such as after parking at the airport), or in a vehicle driven by a friend or family member.

Travel must be from the airport directly to the quarantine residence, with no stops along the way – "not even to get petrol", Queensland Health advises.

Once at home, you cannot leave the premises to shop, visit friends and family or to exercise, but may leave in an emergency or to take a mandatory COVID test on day 1, 5 and 12 of home quarantine.

Can you quarantine at home when living with somebody else?

Queensland does permit home quarantine at residences shared with other people – such as when only one member of a couple is returning from interstate – subject to additional restrictions.

Under the advice of Queensland Health, the traveller under home quarantine must:

  • Stay in their own room, and avoid common areas where possible
  • Remain at least 1.5 metres away from others
  • Wear a mask when moving through shared spaces, or when in the same room as others (such as open-plan spaces)
  • Avoid preparing food for others in the household, and avoid sharing household items
  • Clean the house regularly, especially high-touch objects like door handles
  • Cover all coughs and sneezes
  • Use a separate bathroom where possible, or clean the bathroom after each use
  • Wash hands regularly, and avoid touching the face

While any member of the household is under home quarantine, “you cannot allow anyone into your place of quarantine unless they live there or need to enter to provide emergency or medical care.”

Queensland’s current COVID-19 hotspots

Queensland continues to declare all of New South Wales, Victoria, and South Australia as ‘hotspots’ under its interstate travel restrictions.

Current COVID-19 hotspots designated by Queensland.
Current COVID-19 hotspots designated by Queensland.

D’Ath explained that while lockdowns in both Victoria and South Australia had now concluded, the hotspot designation remained in place because these state “continue to have a very high level of restrictions” in place locally.

All of New South Wales remains a hotspot too, but with a quarantine-free border zone in place for northern NSW, allowing residents from that zone to enter Queensland for a permitted purpose – and vice versa – such as to work or obtain medical treatment.

Travel from all other states and territories into Queensland is also permitted without home isolation or hotel quarantine, unless the traveller has attended a COVID-19 exposure site interstate.

Trial of home quarantine for international arrivals

While hotel quarantine remains mandatory in Queensland for most international arrivals, South Australia is gearing up for a trial of home quarantine for low-risk travellers from abroad.

Limited to fully-vaccinated passengers entering Australia from lower-risk countries, the trial will begin in Adelaide over the coming months, and if successful, could provide a blueprint for a broader rollout of the program.

During the trial phase, home quarantine in South Australia will “only be for South Australians wanting to return home to this state,” confirmed SA Premier Steven Marshall.

“While we will be the first jurisdiction to return South Australians through home quarantine, it is expected other states will then adopt the system.”

Read more: How Australia’s home quarantine trial will work

Chris Chamberlin

Chris Chamberlin is the Associate Editor of Executive Traveller, and lives by the motto that a journey of a thousand miles begins not just with a single step, but also a strong latte, a theatre ticket, and later in the day, a good gin and tonic.

15 Oct 2020

Total posts 2

What about people who are not staying in Brisbane?

Home quarantine will be available across Queensland, but questions regarding specific itinerary plans or individual requirements are best asked of Queensland Health (call 13 42 68) prior to travel.

j13
j13

13 Jan 2021

Total posts 6

Amazingly, Morrison has said medical evidence shows fully vaccinated international arrivals spending 7 days in home quarantine are a lesser risk of infection to the community than unvaccinated 14 day hotel quarantine. Why is it necessary to do a trial in SA with Paralympians, this will take months and months. Home quarantine should have started immediately medical advice proved it's value. Once again Australia is in a marathon whereas the real race is a sprint. Incompetence is endemic in all levels of government in Australia.

Singapore Airlines - KrisFlyer

12 Apr 2017

Total posts 168

It staggers me that we cannot find a simple way to introduce home quarantine! Technology is available right now. It is a lack of will or courage that is stopping it. I have travelled abroad a few times in the last 12 months and have experienced first hand how different countries control and quarantine returned travellers, including completing 14 days in hotel quarantine here in Australia. Believe me, there are more effective ways than a hotel which can be implemented here right now.

19 Aug 2021

Total posts 1

I live 3.5 hours away 

Moving into an empty house would I still have to hotel quarantine after flying into Qld? 


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