Covid-19: Rule for MIQ guests to stay in their room post day-12 test scrapped

Returning New Zealanders will no longer be required to remain in their room after the day-12 test while in managed isolation (MIQ) facilities, in a relaxing of the rules.
Covid-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins introduced the temporary rule in late January, in response to a spate of cases linked to the Pullman Hotel managed isolation facility.

On Tuesday, an MIQ spokesperson told Stuff the Ministry of Health advised the day 11/12 room restrictions should be lifted, effective from Monday. Until now, MIQ guests had to remain in their rooms between that final test and their departure date.

RNZ
A returnee in managed isolation at the Pullman Hotel believes the system is robust and well policed, with guest restricted to their rooms unless they're sporting a wristband that shows they've tested negative for Covid-19.

The Ministry said recent operational improvements, such as limiting returnee movements within MIQ facilities, were sufficient to reduce risk meaning the restriction could be scrapped.


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The current room restrictions for arrivals who are required to undergo a day 0/1 test all arrivals except those travelling from Australia, Antarctica and some Pacific Island nations remain in place, the spokesperson said.

There are 32 MIQ facilities across the country, with the majority in the Auckland region.

Joseph Johnson/Stuff
There are more than 5200 people in the 32 managed isolation facilities across the country.

As of Tuesday, there were 5201 people in managed isolation facilities nationwide, and 88 people in quarantine.

Further measures were introduced in February to strengthen MIQ protocols, including introducing a booking system requiring returnees to book exercise and smoking slots, limiting returnees movements and ensuring people remain in their rooms at all other times.

Only essential movement is allowed.

Infection prevention control protocols apply to returnees during exercise such as being required to wear a face mask and maintain 2 metre physical distancing from those outside their bubble, they said.


The Ministry of Health and Managed Isolation and Quarantine regularly review its policies and procedures to ensure they remain fit-for-purpose to reduce the risk of the spread of Covid-19 within facilities, the spokesperson said.

The safety of our returnees, workers and that of all New Zealand remains our priority.

More than 120,000 people have been through the managed isolation and quarantine system since March 2020.

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