Additional security systems, including thermal CCTV that triggers an alarm if returnees break out, will be rolled out to all Managed Isolation and Quarantine Facilities, Housing Minister Megan Woods announced today.

The estimated $6 million rollout is part of an ongoing programme of continual improvement in the managed isolation and quarantine system and follows yesterday’s announcement of a 500-person boost to defence force personnel in manage isolation and quarantine facilities, and previous increases to Police and security fencing.

The Government will also be commencing a pilot of the COVID card with staff inside a managed isolation facility, with a view to a wider roll out in the coming months. This technology will add a layer of assurance to ensure we can track movements within facilities to enable rapid contact tracing and builds on the various other initiatives we have been rolling out to minimise risk of an outbreak coming from our facilities.

“Managed isolation and quarantine facilities are commercial hotels with security systems that support the hotel function but there is room to improve these systems to better protect our communities from COVID-19,” Megan Woods said.

Whilst each facility is very different it is proposed to add the following security enhancements where feasible:
• Thermal CCTV (night and day vision) around the perimeter with geo-fenced alarming. This technology would create an alarm when people move within a defined area;
• CCTV in public and exercise areas to monitor distance breaches;
• CCTV in accommodation corridors to monitor any breaches between rooms;
• Security Control Room/Desk,
• Audible alarms on fire exits
• Electronic access systems to restrict or track movement around a facility.

“Benefits include an increased ability to quickly detect and respond to perimeter breaches and incursions, and breaches of managed isolation and quarantine facility rules and security such as physical distancing and use of PPE. It will also enable better evidence collection to support enforcement action and if necessary police prosecution for non-compliance.

“Keeping COVID-19 at the border is a priority for the Government and these security enhancements are another tool in our toolbox to ensure returnees stay in the facilities and limit risk to the community.

“While no system is fool proof these additional security arrangements add an extra layer of protection to help keep COVID at the border.

“We are mindful of the privacy of returnees and any additional surveillance will take place only in the public areas of the facilities, not in rooms,” Megan Woods said.