Experts support end to MIQ

As National’s petition to ‘End MIQ Now’ ticks past 75,000 signatures, public health experts have backed the idea that current MIQ requirements for vaccinated arrivals to Auckland could be dropped for most without increasing risk to Aucklanders, says National’s Covid Response  spokesperson Chris Bishop.

“The response to our petition has been extraordinary. More than 75,000 people have signed it already from all over the world and all over New Zealand.

“New Zealanders understand that MIQ has become a lottery of human misery that shuts out Kiwis from their own country. It is callous, cruel and unfair.

“It’s great to see public health support for the idea that MIQ needs to fundamentally change. In a blog post this morning, Dr Lucy Telfar Barnard, Dr Jennifer Summers, Lesley Gray, Professor Michael Baker and Professor Nick Wilson note that the risk of Covid infection for most vaccinated international arrivals is typically less than the current risk for Auckland residents.

“The risks of fully-vaccinated travellers to New Zealand with negative pre-departure tests are not zero, but they are negligible, particularly in the context of more than 1800 people with Covid (or close contacts) isolating at home in Auckland right now.

“As the experts note, ‘with tested, vaccinated travellers from many jurisdictions having a lower risk of Covid-19 infection than Aucklanders; with no vaccination or quarantine requirements for Aucklanders permitted to travel outside Auckland; and with the decision to allow many known positive cases in the current outbreak to isolate at home in Auckland, current MIQ requirements for tested vaccinated travellers have become inconsistent and arbitrary’.

“The experts note that ‘filling MIQ rooms with arrivals who typically have a lower infection risk than Aucklanders wastes limited MIQ space. Public health would be better served by having those rooms available for community cases, when their homes are not suitable for home isolation’.

“National agrees that ‘most vaccinated international travellers arriving in Auckland do not require quarantine and will probably only need monitoring and testing at most’ and that ‘most vaccinated international travellers destined for other parts of New Zealand could now fly into Auckland, and then travel on to other parts of the country on the same testing and quarantine conditions as for Aucklanders’.

“We urge the Government to adopt National’s position of ending MIQ right now for fully-vaccinated travellers to New Zealand. This is the right thing to do and will put an end to this lottery of human misery and allow Kiwis to come home for Christmas.”