Blair Siegel has been in Managed Isolation and Quarantine Facilities (MIQFs) for nearly 80 weeks and has no plans to leave anytime soon.
The Auckland-based Reservist Army officer has been managing MIQFs since June last year, making him one of the most active MIQF managers and his commitment and dedication has earned him New Zealand Defence Force Reservist of the Year Award.
Captain Siegel has an infantry background and has been a Reservist with 3rd/6th Battalion, Royal New Zealand Infantry Regiment (RNZIR) since 2006. He was working as a civilian medical equipment salesman when the opportunity arose to manage his first MIQF, the Grand Mercure in Auckland.
As well as MIQF Manager, he has also taken on the role of personnel coordinator for his unit 3/6 RNZIR, ensuring that his people are trained and fully prepared to staff the MIQF, NZDF said in a statement.
He said he enjoyed meeting people, and made an effort to interact with those returning from overseas who must isolate in the MIQF hotels. While managed isolation could be challenging for some, most realised why they needed to be there “and just got on with it”, he said.
In the early days there were a few issues, but the system was more streamlined now and people were generally aware of what was expected of them.
“It’s important to make the ground rules clear as soon as people arrive and we welcome them. People appreciate that.”
Captain Siegel has also worked as a MIQF manager at the Stamford Plaza in Auckland, as well as Jet Park in Hamilton. He is now based at Naumai in Auckland.