An additional hotel will be added to our network of managed isolation and quarantine facilities, COVID-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins said today.
“I have approved and Cabinet is in the final stages of signing off The Quality Hotel Elms in Christchurch as a new managed isolation facility,” Chris Hipkins said.
“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.
“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 numbers of facilities in the network to 32.
“Before hotels are added to the network they must meet a rigorous safety, public health and staffing criteria,” Chris 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.
“Staff onsite will 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.”
Chris Hipkins said MIQ will remain a critical part of our COVID-19 defence for the forseeable future and are fundamental to our 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.”