An additional hotel will be added to New Zealand’s network of managed isolation and quarantine facilities, COVID-19 Response Minister, Chris Hipkins announced today.
Cabinet is in the process of signing off The Quality Hotel Elms in Christchurch as a new managed isolation facility.
“We asked MBIE to find new facilites to help balance the reduced capacity overall due to added protections we have put in place to combat Delta. These include cohorting, taking hotels offline to boost their ventilation systems and the coversion of two isolation facilites for quarantine,” said Mr Hipkins.
“We want to assure Kiwis overseas that we are doing everything we can to facilitate their safe return.”
The new hotel will result in 85 more rooms for returnees and brings the nation’s numbers of facilities to 32.
“Before hotels are added to the network they must meet a rigorous safety, public health and staffing criteria,” Mr Hipkins said.
“This includes appropriate ventilation, staff ‘green’ zones, separate entry and exit points, and CCTV capability.
“The Elms met these criteria, has a modern ventilation system, a large carpark and is set back from the road. Following positive consultation with iwi, local stakeholders and the DHB, officials are now working towards a go live date that could be from mid November onwards.”
He said staff onsite would include Police, health staff, security, MIF mangers and hotel staff.
“Again, I’d like to say a special thanks to all the frontline staff who are keeping us safe.”
Minister Hipkins said MIQ would remain a critical part of New Zealand’s COVID-19 defence for the forseeable future and was fundamental to the government’s Reconnecting New Zealand strategy.
“As well as bringing the new facility on board, the Government is working on medium and long term options for a sustainable and stable MIQ model. How we manage returnees will also continue to evolve, depending on vaccination rates here and overseas.”
“We’re progressing a pilot for a small number of fully vaccinated New Zealanders to be able to travel overseas and isolate in approved accommodation when they return, and will learn a lot from that. We expect to say more on this next week. We are also working on alternative longer term options, and the prospect of shorter stays for fully vaccinated people.
“Other managed isolation facility options were considered in Auckland and Rotorua but were rejected primarily because of health and MIQ workforce constraints.
“No suitable facilites were found in Hamilton and Wellington,” Mr Hipkins said.