Another hotel in Christchurch has been turned into a managed isolation facility, adding nearly 100 to the Government’s MIQ supply.
The Quality Hotel Elms in Papanui is in the final stages of being signed off by the Cabinet, increasing the number of MIQ facilities to 32.
Covid-19 response minister Chris Hipkins said Cabinet had asked the ministry of business, innovation and employment to boost managed isolation capacity in response to the added protections enforced due to the Delta variant.
Hipkins said this included cohorting, taking hotels offline to boost ventilation systems and converting two isolation facilities for quarantine.
This came after the rollout of the Government’s new lottery system for MIQ as 30,000 New Zealanders wait for a chance to secure one of the 3000 spots opening at the end of the year.
By adding the Quality Hotel Elms, an additional 85 rooms would be available for managed isolation as early as mind-November.
Other options were considered in Auckland and Rotorua but were dismissed due to workforce constraints. No suitable options were found in Hamilton or Wellington.
In order for hotels to be converted into a MIQ facility, they must meet meticulous safety, public health and staffing criteria said Hipkins.
This included appropriate ventilation, ‘green zones’ for staff, separate entry and exit points, and CCTV.
Hipkins added that the Government was reviewing other options for how it would sustain the managed isolation model in the medium to long term, which included a pilot programme for fully vaccinated Kiwis heading overseas to secure spots in MIQ to use when they returned.