the next step for Australia


Smart quarantine: the next step for Australia

Why a smart and healthy quarantine infrastructure is now essential for Australia’s future.

Australia is in an enviable position when it comes to COVID-19 (COVID) in terms of global standing – both in terms of health and in terms of the economy. However, it came at a cost. Typically, community spread comes down to issues of quarantining citizens or returning travelers. Our ability to track and trace varies from state to state.

Methods of dealing with COVID outbreaks often include severe measures such as lockdowns. Even a single case can generate restrictions such as a statewide lockdown and interstate travel bans. While effective from the standpoint of spreading COVID, it is not popular as we all value our freedom and sanity. And the economic impact is significant to say the least. Simply put, lockdowns cannot be a long-term solution to Australia’s handling of COVID.

Group Ai calculated that a seven day shutdown like this [currently occurring in Melbourne] will likely cost billions of dollars. Multiply that by all the blockages and it’s just not a sensible long-term solution, especially when there are solid alternatives.

What is the long term solution?

If the source of COVID is Australians returning from overseas – with the virus somehow escaping our quarantine system – then the answer is to make sure our quarantine system is hermetic. Sanitary procedures must be followed, but more importantly, specially designed high-tech quarantine facilities must be in place, which incorporate technologies that prevent or kill the spread of the virus and allow us to safely welcome Australians. back.

A wide range of digital technologies and services support healthy buildings and could be implemented in a specially designed smart quarantine solution. Below are some of the technologies available today.

Quarantine of hotels and move to a smarter, long-term approach

To date, we have taken the standard hotel infrastructure and converted it into quarantine facilities. This approach worked as an interim measure and was in fact necessary, but it is certainly not a sealed-off solution.

Some people have spoken of mining shacks in remote sites. This low-tech approach is not the solution either. We can do a lot better than that and we need a much smarter approach. An approach that uses smart infrastructure (which already exists) and an approach that not only protects us against the spread of the virus and against the multi-billion dollar economic costs, but which in fact has the potential to form a new industry, skills, jobs and exports for Australia.

Complete technological solutions are available now. Below is an overview of the “Smart Air Quality Program” from Siemens. There are many other technologies out there that would go into a smart technology based quarantine solution.

Smart infrastructure technologies already exist to create a world-class quarantine solution. Examples include heating, ventilation, and cooling, which have antibacterial and UV filtration capabilities; integrated IoT building management systems that can intelligently monitor and detect almost everything inside and outside a building; high-tech biosecurity access systems; portable apps and devices that support effective tracking and tracing; and systems that can intelligently interact with healthcare providers using industrial Internet of Things technologies.

The digital twin approach

A solution can be digitally designed and built before the first excavator hits the ground so we can eliminate risk and maximize results. High-tech industry and manufacturing are already taking this approach. The vision would be to design and build a purpose-built, world-class quarantine facility and system that not only enables Australia to properly manage COVID and bring people safely back to the country, but which also has the potential to stimulate economic growth with new industries and skills that could be exported to the world.

Beyond the specially designed quarantine solution, but not as critical as the current situation, we have a longer-term need to introduce healthy building technologies into our cities to improve the resilience, confidence and prosperity of the city.

Construction 4.0 CRC Q_Smart technology-based quarantine solution

Chaired by Dr Bronwyn Evans, Building 4.0 CRC offers a high-tech quarantine solution called Q_Intelligent.

Q_Smart offers a technology-based building quarantine and service delivery solution: a complete, integrated system comprising a suite of highly flexible and scalable processes, tools and products for use in multiple locations, from nationally and globally. Construction solutions are factory built and can be assembled to suit a range of site conditions and requirements. The structures are easily dismantled and can be relocated and reassigned to other applications such as bushfire relief or affordable housing.

Jeff Connolly, President and CEO of Siemens Australia & Pacific.

Do we have a business case?

COVID is not going to go away and no doubt the business case for Australia to invest in such a solution is as clear as daylight. There is technology that can do this. There are people who have skills in Australia to embark on this adventure. There are suitable locations, and of all the world, Australia is in the best position to focus and invest quickly in this area.

Main image credit: © stock.adobe.com / au / wladimir1804


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