Stricter rules needed for high risk arrivals

The Government needs to change the way arrivals from the United Kingdom and other high risk destinations are being treated and adopt stricter rules in MIQ for high risk arrivals, National’s Covid-19 Response spokesperson Chris Bishop says.

“The new, highly transmissible Covid variants seen at our border present huge risks for New Zealand. Community transmission of the new variants would be devastating and likely result in more lockdowns.

“We must do all we can to avoid this scenario so, alongside mandatory pre-departure testing for all countries, the Government should be segmenting arrivals depending on where they have come from.

“It would mean arrivals from countries that are deemed high risk, like the UK, would stay together in a dedicated hotels and would not mix with arrivals from lower risk destinations.

“The Government should also consider dedicating MIQ staff to these high risk hotels, making sure they don’t have contact with other returnees and testing the staff more frequently.

“Given how easily transmissible the new Covid variants are, the Government should look at  eliminating shared space in high risk hotels until the first negative test result. This would mean exercising in rooms only and nicotine patches would need to be provided for smokers.

“Covid-19 is evolving and we must do the same in our response. Our approach needs to be more nuanced and considered given the seriousness of the situation.

“The Government can’t afford to be complacent with this new threat.”