Wednesday, May 29, 2024

Defence quarantine boost from today

The number of defence force personnel supporting the Managed Isolation and Quarantine System and maritime border will be increased, further bolstering protections against community COVID-19 spread, Minister of Housing Megan Woods said today. 

“Around 500 more defence personnel will be deployed taking the total to about 990 defence personnel at our managed isolation facilities following ongoing checks and assessments of the managed isolation and quarantine system as part of a continual improvement process,” Ms Woods said.

“That will bring the total Defence Force personnel supporting the COVID-19 response to around 1200 – the largest military contingent since Timor-Leste.”

She said the boost in defence force personnel would be progressively rolled out over the next six weeks and would see numbers at each managed facility increase from around four to 19 people.

A further 80 additional personnel will also be deployed at the maritime border to assist Customs, Minister Woods said.

“It is important we do all we can to strengthen the layers of security systems in our facilities.”

She said a trial of CCTV capability to help with management of facility perimeters had also been underway over the last month, with the likelihood that trialling would be rolled out more widely.

There are currently 32 managed isolation and quarantine facilities in operation. 

“Since managed isolation started around four months ago, almost 40,000 people have successfully been through managed isolation and quarantine facilities,” Minister Woods said.

“While the current community cluster has not been sourced to a managed isolation and quarantine facility, nothing is fail-safe and strengthening security is a step we believe is useful.”

She said 30 staff would deploy to Auckland today to staff the first two MIQ facilities.

In each following week, a further 75 would be provided until each MIQF is staffed by an additional complement of 15 NZDF staff.

“We are reducing our reliance on private security guards by scaling up Defence Force personnel, especially in the highest risk facilities,” said Ms Woods.

“They will staff the higher risk security areas such as entry and exit points and public areas.”

“We will be moving to a model of direct employment of security guards with the appropriate training and paying the living wage.”

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