Covid 19 Delta outbreak: Over 2500 returnees eligible to leave MIQ

A record number of returnees were released from managed isolation facilities on Sunday, as the required MIQ stay was reduced.

Over 2500 returnees were eligible to leave MIQ on Sunday if they had been isolating at MIQ for seven or more days.

International arrivals will now be required to isolate at a MIQ facility for seven days, then complete three days of home isolation.

Non-New Zealand travellers will have to be fully vaccinated, but unvaccinated kids and New Zealand adults are eligible to leave after seven days.

Joint Head of MIQ Brigadier Rose King said this was the largest release in the history of MIQ

“Over 2400 of the eligible people are leaving MIQ today – about eight times more than we would normally see depart each day,” said King.

“This is the largest release in the history of MIQ, and a great logistical effort as we organise test results, health checks and transport back to the point of arrival for each person.

Since the Covid-19 pandemic over 190,000 international arrivals have isolated in an MIQ facility.

As of 4pm on Sunday 2160 people were released, with 274 still to be released in Auckland, while 96 people will be released on Monday.

Covid Response Minister Chris Hipkins announced the change to MIQ stays in late October.

The change was aimed at freeing up more MIQ space to allow more overseas Kiwis to return home.

Those eligible to leave early will be tested on day 0, day 3, day 6 and have a rapid antigen test before leaving.

Since an MIQ lottery came into place many New Zealanders stranded overseas have failed to get spots despite some being fully vaccinated.

At the beginning of October, more than 25,000 people overseas are vying for the latest release of managed isolation rooms.

The MIQ booking system has previously been labelled an “absolute joke”, “depressing” and “heartbreaking” by those who have not been successful.

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