The Hon. T.A. FRANKS (15:24): Noting that I won't get a supplementary, my question is to the Minister for Health and Wellbeing with regard to the COVID-19 home quarantine app. It was announced last month by the government that they were seeking a procurement process for such an app. Where is that up to? Will it be used for international visitors at any stage, or is it simply anticipated for interstate arrivals?
The Hon. S.G. WADE (Minister for Health and Wellbeing) (15:25): I will certainly get an update in terms of the procurement process. My understanding is that they may well have moved to an evaluation stage in the process. But in terms of its likely use, I think it's highly unlikely that a home quarantine app would be used for international arrivals. What we are significantly seeing in more recent arrivals is there is a higher level of positivity—in other words, COVID positive cases—and also a higher level of acuity in terms of other health issues.
The Hon. T.A. Franks: The Prime Minister has actually said that international arrivals may be able to use these apps.
The Hon. S.G. WADE: Whilst I wouldn't want to respond to an interjection, some might note that the Prime Minister is more optimistic than I am for an app being able to replace hotel-based quarantine, but these things will come.
The point I am making about positivity is, just as it has gone up, it might go down, but we have a situation at the moment where both Europe and North America are experiencing an increasing level of cases. In the last week America has had record cases. I wish President Biden every success in turning that pandemic around on the North American continent, because it's important not just for the country but for the whole world. It's my opinion as a politician rather than a clinician that we may be a long way away from having quarantine for international travellers primarily relying on an app.
The honourable member referred to interstate travellers. I think it's also important to acknowledge that there may well be significant local uses. For example, if we had a case, had an outbreak, a bit like the Thebarton cluster, rather than putting a thousand people into quarantine, it might be just as effective to use some sort of app. To be frank, it significantly reduces the welfare challenges.
Despite the best efforts of extremely compassionate nurses and other health staff in relation to the Thebarton cluster, there is no doubt that a lot of people from that CALD community experienced significant challenges, so having an app that could manage close contacts or casual contacts may well be a very useful tool not just for people coming from outbreaks interstate. I'm more than happy to deal with any other supplementaries offline.