Shorter stays in MIQ announced by Government

Published: 28 October 2021

From 14 November 2021, the managed isolation period for international arrivals into New Zealand will reduce from 14 days to 7 days, followed by isolation at home until the result of a day 9 test has been received.

This page has been updated 12 November 2021.

Travellers will continue to undergo tests on day 0/1, day 3 and day 5/6 while in managed isolation. A low-risk indicator check and health check will be required before people can leave managed isolation.

Read more about the Government’s announcement on the Beehive website(external link)

How the transition will work 

For those in MIQ currently

With the change taking effect from Sunday 14 November, it does not affect international arrivals who enter MIQ up until 31 October; they will still need to complete their 14-day stay.

For those in MIQ between 1 November and 13 November

People who enter MIQ from 1 to 13 November can expect to receive specific communications about their own facility’s plan for releasing people who are on day 7+ on 14 November.

This is because a low-risk indicator check and health check will be required before people can leave managed isolation. Staff in MIQ facilities will be working extremely hard to release everybody that day but they need to complete all the checks and other departure protocols for a very large number of people on 1 day – this number would ordinarily be staggered over 3 to 4 days. As a result, in some facilities there may be a 1 to 3 days transition period to work through everyone to be released.

This is a significant change and MIQ staff will be working as hard as they can to release people within the public health requirements. We ask people to be patient while we make the transition.

People who hold MIQ vouchers for an arrival date up until 14 November 2021 cannot transfer their voucher to a later date. There are limited reasons why vouchers may be transferred, and these remain unchanged, i.e. if there is an unplanned disruption to your flight close to departure time or your flight is cancelled. If people wish to change their travel date, they will have to cancel their current voucher and apply for a new one in the next lobby release.

Cancelled or rescheduled flights

Post MIQ self-isolation

People will be required to isolate at home until they have taken a test on day 9 and been notified of the result. The Ministry of Health has provided clear guidance on what’s required when they depart MIQ.

Self-isolation for international arrivals post-MIQ — Ministry of Health NZ(external link)

Any positive cases following the 7-day stay in MIQ will be treated like any other community case under the Ministry of Health public health programme, which may or not may result in a return to MIQ.

Self-isolation pilot

From 14 November, the self-isolation period for business travellers in the pilot will be shortened to 10 days at an approved location.

MIQ capacity will not increase substantially

There are still vouchers to be released through to the end of the year. This change from 14 November will help provide more rooms for international arrivals through regular lobby releases, though not substantially, as modelling for the number of rooms needed for high-risk community cases is not yet conclusive enough. We also need to continue to allocate rooms for groups, critical workers (including health workers), emergency cases and time-sensitive travel.

The managed isolation system is currently operating at near maximum capacity. The increase in community cases and requirement to convert managed isolation facilities to quarantine facilities has meant MIQ has needed to defer scheduled maintenance and use our usual operating contingency in order to meet our commitments to those arriving from overseas with vouchers booked, as well as continue to approve vouchers for emergency allocations for those who are eligible.

The number of managed isolation rooms available to international arrivals has decreased since the beginning of the current outbreak in mid-August, following the conversion of the Novotel and Ibis Ellerslie and the Holiday Inn in Auckland and the Distinction in Hamilton to community quarantine facilities. It is likely that further community quarantine facilities will be required.

With the change to the 7 day MIQ model, we are hoping we can reinstate the level of rooms we had available for international returnees prior to the community outbreak in mid-August. So this change will help to offset the reduction in MIQ capacity we’ve been experiencing as a result of the outbreak, rather than doubling the capacity of MIQ rooms.

In the future, should community cases stabilise with no further facilities being required for quarantine, MIQ may be able to increase the number of rooms available on the Managed Isolation Allocation System (MIAS) for people overseas.

Community cases

The change does not apply to people in MIQ due to the New Zealand community outbreak. The vast majority of international arrivals are fully vaccinated and have had a negative pre-departure test, whereas community cases are positive cases or are close contacts of them. 

Local Medical Officers of Health continue to determine the length of time community cases need to spend in MIQ based on a range of variables, including whether they are able to safely self-isolate at home. 

COVID-19 testing in MIQ

International evidence increasingly suggests that increased frequency of testing can provide some level of compensation for decreased duration of quarantine/isolation to manage public health risks. 

The same testing regime of the current MIQ 14-day stay will remain in place, i.e. day 0/1, day 3, day 5/6, and people will be expected to get a PCR test in the community on day 9.

People whose result of the day 5/6 nasopharyngeal test is not yet available when they are due to leave on day 7, are required to have an additional rapid antigen test. A low-risk indicator check and health check will be required before people can leave managed isolation. 

Fees

As an interim measure, MBIE will be amending the MIQ Charges Regulations to set new fees for a 7-day stay. These new fees will be calculated based on the pro-rata rate of current fees.  The new fees are set out below.  All figures are GST inclusive.

New Zealand citizens and permanent residents

Including Australian citizens and permanent residents who are ordinarily resident in New Zealand, and Critical health workers.

First or only person in a room:

  • Current fee - $3,100
  • New fee (for 7 day stay) - $1,610

Additional adult in the same room:

  • Current fee - $950
  • New fee (for 7 day stay) - $460

Additional child in the same room:

  • Current fee - $475
  • New fee (for 7 day stay) - $230

Temporary entry class visa holders

First or only person in a room:

  • Current fee - $5,520
  • New fee (for 7 day stay) - $2,760

Additional adult in the same room:

  • Current fee - $2,990
  • New fee (for 7 day stay) - $1,495

Additional child in the same room:

  • Current fee - $1,610
  • New fee (for 7 day stay) - $805

Other critical workers

First or only person in a room:

  • Current fee - $5,520
  • New fee (for 7 day stay) - $2,760

Additional adult in the same room:

  • Current fee - $2,990
  • New fee (for 7 day stay) - $1,495

Additional child in the same room:

  • Current fee - $1,610
  • New fee (for 7 day stay) - $805

Note: MBIE is currently reviewing the fee levels more generally, which may result in further changes to the fees regime in the coming months.

Last updated: 12 November 2021