The Greens have thrown their support behind calls for a purpose-built managed isolation and quarantine (MIQ) facility, saying it’s looking like the pandemic is going to drag on for longer than initially thought.
The current system of using converted hotels has been stretched to its limits with the recent Delta outbreak. More have been turned into quarantine facilities for confirmed cases and close contacts, and capacity in others has been reduced to cut down the chance of infected people passing on the virus.
COVID-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins on Wednesday urged Kiwis based overseas planning to visit home over summer to stay away, pausing the release of new spots.
I’ve also been advocating this for ages. Not only is it a no brainer for Covid-19, but if done right, could be used for emergency or transitional housing in the future.
The idea has the backing of epidemiologists and public health experts like Nick Wilson and Michael Baker. Dr Wilson this week told RNZ existing hotels are not fit-for-purpose.
“We really, as a country, need to be moving to what Australia is doing and building purpose-built facilities which are single storey separate units like they have in Howard Springs in Australia, and all very good ventilation.”
Documents released under the Official Information Act in July showed officials had been pushing the Government to build new facilities for a year.
Think where we would be, if they had acted on this a year ago. I suspect we’ll get Auckland light rail before a dedicated MIQ facility, from this Government.