MIQ moves to 7-day stays

Published: 18 February 2022

New Zealand has moved to Phase Two of the Omicron plan, which focuses on minimising and slowing further spread within our communities, meaning returnees in MIQ will be able to leave sooner.

For those already in our facilities 

Those already in managed isolation can leave a facility if they have completed at least 7 days in MIQ and are confirmed by a Medical Officer of Health that they are at low risk of having or transmitting COVID-19. A health check and the usual pre-departure protocols are also required.

Those who tested positive and have been moved to a quarantine area or facility will also be eligible to exit the facility if they have completed at least 10 days and are confirmed to be at a low risk of transmitting COVID-19. Stays for close contacts of positive cases have reduced from 10 days to 7 days.

While staff are working hard to release everyone who is eligible as soon as possible from Wednesday 16 February 2022, there may be delays and we ask people to be patient while we make the transition.

For those arriving into MIQ from 16 February

The managed isolation period for international arrivals into New Zealand and close contacts of positive border cases (who have separated from the positive case) has reduced from 10 days to 7 days.

The length of quarantine for people who test positive for Covid-19 has also reduced from 14 to 10 days. 

Testing changes

Analysis of border cases over the last few months shows that most cases continue to be detected within the first three days after arrival, and at least 90 percent by day 5/6 testing.

This is why testing frequency for both isolation and quarantine will also change to polymerase chain reaction (PCR) testing on day 0/1(initial entry test) and day 5/6 (final exit test). There will be no day 3 or day 8/9 testing.

Anyone who develops symptoms prior to release from MIQ will continue to be tested, regardless of day of stay.

These changes provide greater consistency between MIQ and the management of community close contacts and cases in Phase Two of the Omicron response plan. They are part of maintaining effective border protection, to keep our communities safe and particularly those most at risk.

Departure numbers

Approximately 1300 people were eligible to leave the facility on 16 February after having stayed at least 7 days in MIQ and meeting low risk indicators. This included border arrivals in isolation and quarantine and those who entered MIQ due to the community outbreak. 

Charges for the 7-day stay

There will be no changes to MIQ charges.

Find out about charges for managed isolation

MIQ capacity

  • The change to a 7-day stay will allow us to make more rooms available for returnees.
  • We are currently underway with rescheduling all our facilities to a 7 day-cycle, reduced from 10 days, and will be able to confirm shortly how many more rooms we will have available for returnees due to the shortened stay.