Australia's athletes are required to undergo hotel quarantine after returning from Tokyo 2020, but controversy has erupted over South Australia's additional requirements ©Getty Images

The Australian Olympic Committee (AOC) has criticised a South Australian Government decision which will see athletes based in the state returning from Tokyo 2020 required to quarantine for a further two weeks at home after completing hotel quarantine.

A total of 853 members of the Australian team have returned or will shortly travel back from the Olympic Games, and are all required to quarantine for 14 days at Government-run hotels as a measure against COVID-19.

These hotels are located in Sydney, Brisbane, Gold Coast, Perth, Melbourne and Howard Springs.

Fifty-six members of the team are due to return to South Australia, and 16 are currently quarantining in Sydney in New South Wales.

After completing their period at a hotel, these athletes will then be required to stay at home for a further 14 days.

The AOC says its team is fully vaccinated against COVID-19, and this "28 day quarantine period for athletes at a time of mental and emotional vulnerability" is contrary to the advice of the Australian Institute of Sport’s (AIS) chief medical officer Dr David Hughes.

Matt Carroll, the AOC’s chief executive, said the decision was contrary to the position of the national Government, and represented "cruel and uncaring treatment" of athletes.

"They are being punished for proudly representing their country with distinction at the Olympic Games," he said.

"We are all promoting the obvious benefits of vaccination, but this important layer of protection is not working in favour of these athletes, given this decision.

"By any measure, this group of returning Olympians is extremely low risk.

"Not only are our Olympians fully vaccinated, but they have also been living in a highly controlled bubble in Tokyo, taking the upmost precautions - tested daily over many weeks."

Carroll claimed that the AOC had applied for its athletes to be exempt from the restrictions, but to no avail.

"We have received no explanation as to why our application on behalf of these athletes has been rejected," he said.

"If you run an exemption process, presumably that includes the prospect that exemptions can be granted based on scientific advice.

"We have received no response related to the expert advice we have provided."

The chief executive also believes the home quarantine could place athletes in a very difficult position.

"Athletes subject to home quarantine will not be permitted a welcome home hug," Carroll added.

"Either the athlete's family must move away, the athlete must find a way of isolating from the family or the entire family goes into quarantine.

"That is not an acceptable option for someone who is fully vaccinated and who has already just completed two weeks' quarantine."

Hughes expressed his belief that the measures are too stringent.

"To have individuals quarantined for such a lengthy period of time is in my opinion unreasonable and cannot be scientifically justified," he said.

"It poses a significant risk to the physical and mental wellbeing of the individuals concerned."