Calls for returning travellers who breach quarantine to wear electronic tracking device 

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Calls for returning travellers who breach quarantine to wear electronic tracking device 

South Australians who breach self-isolation or quarantine orders during the coronavirus pandemic could soon be forced to wear an electronic tracking d

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South Australians who breach self-isolation or quarantine orders during the coronavirus pandemic could soon be forced to wear an electronic tracking device.  

Labor will this week introduce urgent legislation to empower police to fit electronic tracking devices on those who fail to self-isolate within the first 14 days of returning home from overseas or interstate.

Anyone who tampers with the device faces a fine of up to $12,000 or up to 12 months in prison. 

If the radical proposal is passed, South Australia will become the second state to adopt the strict new measure introduced by Western Australia last week.  

South Australian Police (pictured this week at Adelaide Airport) could be granted new powers to fit electronic tracking devices on returned travellers who flout the rules

South Australian Police (pictured this week at Adelaide Airport) could be granted new powers to fit electronic tracking devices on returned travellers who flout the rules

South Australian Police (pictured this week at Adelaide Airport) could be granted new powers to fit electronic tracking devices on returned travellers who flout the rules

Anyone who tampers with the tracking device faces a fine of up to $12,000 or up to 12 months in jail. 

South Australia has had 405 confirmed cases since the virus hit Australia’s shores two months ago.

The state is yet to record its first fatality from the virus as the national death toll climbed to 34 on Sunday.

‘We need to do everything we can to stop the spread of COVID-19,’ SA opposition police spokesman Lee Odenwalder posted on Facebook on Sunday.

‘Next week Labor will introduce urgent legislation to allow police to require people to wear an electronic tracking device if they breach self-isolation or quarantine orders.’

Already introduced in Western Australia, anyone who tampers with the electronic tracking device (pictured) faces a fine of up to $12,000 or up to 12 months behind bars

Already introduced in Western Australia, anyone who tampers with the electronic tracking device (pictured) faces a fine of up to $12,000 or up to 12 months behind bars

Already introduced in Western Australia, anyone who tampers with the electronic tracking device (pictured) faces a fine of up to $12,000 or up to 12 months behind bars

Shadow Attorney-General Kyam Maher added: ‘It is vitally important that people comply with self-isolation or quarantine orders if they have returned from interstate or overseas, or been in close contact with a confirmed case.’

‘Most people are doing the right thing, but for those who do not, forcing them to wear an electronic device is a sensible measure to help stop the spread.’ 

The proposal has already attracted a divided reaction from South Australians.

All travellers returning to South Australia from overseas or interstate must self-isolate in a hotel or at home for 14 days. Pictured are police at Adelaide Airport

All travellers returning to South Australia from overseas or interstate must self-isolate in a hotel or at home for 14 days. Pictured are police at Adelaide Airport

All travellers returning to South Australia from overseas or interstate must self-isolate in a hotel or at home for 14 days. Pictured are police at Adelaide Airport

‘As long as these new laws and powers have a sunset clause, are revoked upon this being over, not used as precedent for other things including discrimination and are policed properly, including the decision to enforce it and why,’ one man posted.

‘I appreciate our safety but there is great potential for abuse of power and control, and all evidence shows that is exactly what happens. 

South Australia Police have been conducting periodic checks on people who have returned from overseas or interstate to ensure they are complying with the mandatory 14 days of self-quarantine since March 22.

Anyone who does not comply faces a fine of up to $20,000 for individuals and up to $75,000 for companies.

Western Australia, which will close its borders from midnight Sunday, ramped up its efforts to stop people breaking self-isolation and social distancing rules, which include electronic tracking devices.

The national death toll from coronavirus rose to 34 on Sunday as the number of cases grow

The national death toll from coronavirus rose to 34 on Sunday as the number of cases grow

The national death toll from coronavirus rose to 34 on Sunday as the number of cases grow

The Western Australian government has also made it an offence to anyone who knowingly has coronavirus, or claims to, to threaten or harm an emergency service worker.

‘People who deliberately show disregard by putting our frontline workers at grave risk or fail to self-isolate as required and putting others in the community at risk, will not be tolerated and will face the full force of the law and harsh penalties,’ Premier Mark McGowan said last week.

‘We are in extraordinary times, and we need to take extraordinary measures.’ 

There’s no word yet on whether other states and territories are considering the tracking device proposal. 

 

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