Covid 19 coronavirus: Five returnees, five staff infected in MIQ since August 16

More than 100,000 people have returned to New Zealand since MIQ facilities opened -but only five of them have been infected with the virus while staying there.

The five returnees and five staff members were infected by a source within the facilities, according to the Ministry of Health.

The infections involve seven “events” at five MIQ facilities in Auckland and Christchurch between August 16, 2020 and January 26, 2021.

The facilities involved are the Rydges Auckland, Pullman Auckland, the Sudima Christchurch Airport, Crowne Plaza Christchurch and the Jet Park Auckland quarantine facility.

All of the cases have been previously reported. The figure does not include 13 international mariners, who are thought to have contracted Covid-19 overseas.

Yesterday the Ministry of Health reported four new cases of Covid-19 in managed isolation and no new community cases.

Meanwhile, New Zealanders trying to get home are unable to book managed isolation as the system is full.

The Government has stopped re-releasing people’s cancelled bookings while it accounts for the loss of the Pullman Hotel and is yet to release dates beyond May, RNZ reported.

People logging into the system are faced with a calendar showing dates through till May 31, but each date is struck out with a little grey cross.

The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE), which runs the hotels, said
cancelled vouchers, which would normally be released back into the system, would be held as “additional contingency for a short period as we navigate through this current situation.”

MBIE said without the Pullman it still had some contingency left in the system.

That comes as no help to people like Elmarie Els, whose daughter wanted to fly home to New Zealand before she’s due to give birth in May.

Her daughter is now preparing to stay in Dubai, but anticipates she will need a passport for the child before she can try booking managed isolation again, RNZ said.

That left Els unsure when she would be able to meet her grandchild.

Meanwhile, the wife and children of Kiwi basketballer Tom Abercrombie have been granted an exemption to carry out their managed isolation at home, rather than a Government-led hotel after travelling back from Australia.

But the Breakers star has lashed out at the suggestion his family were given special treatment based on his status as a sports star.

Abercrombie, who is in Australia with the rest of the Breakers team, told Newstalk ZB’s Heather du Plessis-Allan two of their three children have high needs, prompting them to file a medical exemption.

“[They] have significant behavioural and medical issues, I don’t want to go into the details of what those are,” he said.

“The evidence that we put forward in our application was enough for those powers that be to decide that was the best thing for them, so they’re obviously significant enough for those people to make that decision.”

“The fact that I am a basketball player or where I live had absolutely nothing to do with that decision and I’d be very disappointed if it was.

“I’m extremely disappointed and frustrated.”

Abercrombie said he and his family were well aware their application may be denied – a possibility they were content with.

“We applied for the exemption on the assumption that we might not get it, they’re obviously very hard to get and not everybody gets them and we’re extremely grateful.

“Had they not they would have had to isolate at the facility.”

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