Just two Covid cases in vaccinated travellers on day eight in MIQ since August

On the eve of another MIQ lottery, the fact that only two fully vaccinated travellers have tested positive for Covid on day eight of their 14-day quarantine since August 23 proves it is past time for the Government to loosen MIQ requirements, says National’s Covid Recovery spokesperson Chris Bishop.

“This morning I revealed that 97 per cent of people in MIQ since August 23 have been partly or fully vaccinated. This afternoon in Question Time, Chris Hipkins confirmed to me that there have been just 19 fully vaccinated travellers who have tested positive for Covid from August 23-12 October in MIQ. One of these cases was on day eight and one was on day nine.

“Thousands of people have been through MIQ since August 23 and the data overwhelmingly indicates that double vaccination makes a massive difference, significantly reducing risk.

“The Government only started collecting data on vaccination status on August 23, something Ministers have never explained adequately. As this data now shows, the risk of vaccinated travellers spreading Covid after seven days in MIQ is miniscule. In fact, there is much more Covid in the Auckland community than there is in MIQ.

“National’s ‘Opening Up’ plan calls for fully vaccinated travellers with a negative pre-departure test from low and medium risk jurisdictions to be able to skip MIQ altogether, either isolating at home (medium-risk) or skipping isolation altogether (low-risk).

“There is no reason this can’t be in place before Christmas, which would end the lottery of human misery that is the MIQ system and allow thousands of Kiwis stuck offshore to come home for Christmas.

“At the moment there are 86 people isolating at home with Covid in Auckland. It is ridiculous that people with Covid in Auckland can self-isolate at home while fully vaccinated travellers from Queensland, for example, have to spend 14 days in MIQ.

“The Prime Minister is happy to invite comedians like Celeste Barber to visit New Zealand. She would be better off inviting Kiwis overseas to come home for Christmas.

“The Ombudsman has rightly started an inquiry into the tragedy that is the MIQ system. The Government can start to get thousands more people safely into New Zealand by adopting National’s plan.

“It’s time to start reopening New Zealand to the world.”

You can read our full 'Opening Up' plan here.