Returnee experiences of managed isolation
Many returnees have documented their time in managed isolation to share their experience. These links are shared to give you an idea of what to expect during your stay in MIQ.
Videos of some returnees experiences in MIQ
Note: Some processes and situations talked about in these videos have changed over time and there are variations between facilities.
The content in these videos is owned by each content creator, and they have given us permission to use it on this website. You can find more videos like this by searching for ‘MIQ experience’ on YouTube.
Welcome to my room that I will be staying in for two weeks. I’m officially at the halfway point so I’m on day seven today so I thought probably been here long enough to kind of be able to answer a few of your questions tell you a little bit about my experience and also just how I’m feeling because I’ve heard that day seven is pretty hard because you feel like you've just got to do all of what you've just done again so anyway the room so I was lucky that I actually managed to get two beds which is awesome because it means the room's just a little bit bigger. Currently I’ve been sleeping in this bed but I was thinking maybe in week two I might transition to that one, they don't do any housekeeping here so yeah let's have some clean sheets.
This way I’ve got my little view which is actually not a bad view of a lovely tree the car park area, sometimes I can see some birds, windows but they only open up sort of that much so we don't try to escape.
TV which has been good I got a bit festive over Christmas and made a Christmas tree with what I had. Thank you friends for sending me some gifts my little library, snacks, fridge, and the bathroom.
I’ve got a bathtub as well and in my little isolation hack which I figured out on the second day because the curtain didn't quite reach the bottom and I ended up flooding the floor and I thought I can't deal with this for two weeks so I ended up lowering the curtain with coat hangers and that seems have done the job perfectly so if you're in a hotel with that similar situation give that a go. Okay so a little rundown on my current experience so I’m in a managed isolation hotel in Rotorua which is in the North Island of New Zealand so the current rules for New Zealand is if you are flying from overseas coming to New Zealand you have to do two weeks of managed isolation in a hotel or in a specific facility.
So the reason I’m here is because I was in Sydney in December and I decided to compete in the Oceania Olympic qualifier event for climbing and so when I came back I had to come straight to my isolation so I’ll give you just a quick rundown of like what happened from the plane to arriving to being here. So I flew from Sydney to Auckland on the 22nd of December and we stayed on the plane and then we waited for a police officer to then tell us where we were going, so he announced over the intercom that we were all going to Rotorua in Sudima Hotel, and so what happened was we got off the plane collected our bags and then they put us straight on a bus and they gave us a little bag of snacks to eat and it was about a three hour journey to Rotorua. I wasn't super stoked about this because I just you know had a flight and I was just keen to get into the hotel room sleep lie down and just relax, but we don't get to choose where we go.
If you're leaving New Zealand and you tend to come back you have to book isolation before you leave, so they don't let you fly at the airport so you have to show that you've got your isolation blocking so on another note just make sure if you are planning to isolate at some point in the next few months like go on to the website and just check because like rooms are booking up and it's going to be super sucky if you've booked you know you've looked at flights and stuff and you haven't looked at isolation and then it's like booked out because you literally can't fly in if you haven't booked your isolation on the same day as you fly.
So another question I got was about Covid testing and do they test so what they do here and I think every other facility in New Zealand is that they test you on the third day and your 12th day okay if you're negative in both then they'll release you on your 14th day after your two weeks. I was lucky enough to get my Covid test on Christmas Day so that was good fun. I have had a few before so it wasn't too unexpected it was just a little bit uncomfortable for a couple seconds and then you're fine it's really not that bad.
So yes I was in isolation over Christmas Day and yeah it kind of just felt like any other day in here the staff were wearing Santa hats and were a bit more cheery, the dinner was really really nice we had roast turkey and like an amazing platter of like desserts and truffles and like it just looks super fancy. I’ve had a lot of questions about the food here so the food ranges obviously it depends on what hotel you're at some are just better than others but I’ll just tell you about the experience I’ve had at this hotel.
So firstly what happens with the food is that every day there's three meals that are served and what you'll hear is a knock on the door
[Music]Kia ora room service! [Music]
We usually get given like a sheet of menu for the next day so we can call up in advance and like request a certain meal like if we want vegetarian or something like that. A couple of times I’ve opted for the vegetarian meal and I’ve said like I don't want dessert or can I not get you know this or something like that because any food or any items that come into our room they can't leave our room for our two weeks day so I also hate like wasting food knowing that I’m not going to eat it so a couple times I’ve just felt really bad for like throwing away food knowing that it can't be used elsewhere so you can call up in advance and say hey I actually don't want dinner at all.
You can get Uber eats here so you can order food as long as they can drop it off at reception and then reception bring it to your door then that's fine also you can order food from Countdown deliveries so you can go online find your own groceries and then they'll deliver that for you and that's all good as well so that's super. Okay so outdoor time so I think every facility is a little bit different uh for my experience we get to walk outside in a sort of car park area there's a little bit of grass a couple of trees and we get a maximum of 30 minutes at a time [Music]
Hello room 341, good memory thank you oh it's so busy today [Music] yeah it's been interesting to get that 30 minutes of just like seeing other humans because the rest of the time you're just sitting in your hotel room and you're not interacting with anyone so it's nice even just to like give people a wave and sort of just you can chat from like two metres apart and yeah just know that they're all in the same boat and having like similar experiences it kind of is quite cool in a way [Music]
Do I have a routine? Actually I made a few rules before I came in here that I’ve stuck to so far so one of the rules is that I do set an alarm every morning at 8.30.
8.30 is when breakfast is served so that's when like you usually hear a knock on your door anyway so I thought sit in my alarm for 8.30 and try to get up at that time every day just so that I don't like just end up in bed all day other rules straight off it is that I have to get changed for the day so I have to get out of my pyjamas and like put on day clothes so in my mind I transition from I guess sleeping in bed and now lounging around to like okay here's a new day.
Another thing is I’ve tried to have barriers of when I use my devices so with my laptop I try to always use it at the desk because it's when I’m like maybe typing emails or also playing games and stuff and then when the laptop comes to my bed that's when I watch movies and then sleep so I try to have like a bit of a divide so that each space I’ve got has kind of a place and I’m not like merging spaces if that makes sense that also makes the room seem I guess a little bit bigger because you're kind of like oh this is the area I sit and read my book and then that's area I eat my meals you know so it kind of in a way seems like the space is like a house even though it's a room.
Cost of isolation so for your two weeks it will cost you $3,100 for any additional people in the same room I think it's $950 and that has actually already been subsidised by the government potentially 50%. So a few of you have asked like how do I stay sane in here
I don't know if I’m staying sane as much as trying to just stay positive and keep spirits high and in a way just treat this time as like time I’m probably never ever gonna have again.
Thank you so much if you added me as a friend on chess.com and you've been playing against me because it's really nice to play against someone that's like a real human or someone that I know online [Music]
It's been a really good opportunity for me to not look at the time, look like outside of my window and appreciate the small things it sounds super cheesy yeah in a way it's been good to just like simplify life and yeah I mean I had a really hectic like two months leading up to this you know I was traveling around I was training for my comp so actually I don't mind just kind of sitting around a bit and not feeling like I have to train and I have to keep fit and active and have to do yoga and you know all that like it's actually been really good time for me just to rest.
Final thoughts if you are considering going away and then coming back to New Zealand and you kind of put off with the isolation thing like fair enough like you know it's costly two weeks that's a decent amount of time to be stuck in a hotel room but it depends on your mind-set. You can make it really fun and it could actually be kind of life-changing you learn a lot about yourself, you learn about what excites you when you've gotten nothing or no one else to excite you.
After like my crazy two months I had at the end of this year I was actually really excited to come to isolation because it meant that all I had to do was exist here for two weeks. I didn't have to get on a train and look at maps and like organise things and schedule people to book in and see like all I had to do was just be here. What am I going to do once I get out of isolation? I think first thing is find decent coffee!
I’ve just got instant coffee here and it's just not cutting it and secondly I think I’m gonna enjoy just being able to get in my car and just like drive out of town and just look at some different scenery to be honest like just have that freedom of being able to drive is what I miss yeah.
If you look at it differently and if you think well actually this is an amazing time to just rest and have no expectations to be anywhere you can do anything productive [Music]
Thank you for your questions I hope I answered some of that and gave you some insight and I guess some honest truths about my experience so far in isolation, yeah thank you for watching!
I’m in LAX and it's absolutely abandoned but our flight leaves in about 50 minutes and then we will begin the process of going through managed isolation in New Zealand which I will be taking all of you along on the journey with me it's going to be weird as a New Zealand citizen but born here in the United States I feel a lot of really conflicting and amazing emotions I’m so excited to move to New Zealand I’m so excited for Carrie and I for this next chapter in our lives but at the same time leaving America right now during you know the height of the pandemic and all of the rest of the crazy stuff that's been happening in America coming to LAX just to see this this is crazy airport which is the fourth largest airport in the united states absolutely empty it's just very surreal it's been a strange evening and yeah this is gonna be a wild trip so stick around I’ll take you along let's go what's going on ladies and gentlemen.
Welcome back to the channel I am Alex aka Alex the Vagabond and in this video I am coming to you from managed isolation in Auckland New Zealand. If you've been reading the news or you're at all aware of the situation here in New Zealand. New Zealand is in a very unique position right now they have been able to pretty much keep coronavirus out of the country and the way they've done that is what's called managed isolation and quarantine or MIQ for short.
So what is MIQ? Well managed isolation is the mandatory 14-day quarantine for anybody coming in to New Zealand from abroad to ensure that you do not have Covid 19 and you are not bringing the virus into the country now the border is officially closed for everyone who is not a New Zealand citizen or a visa holder. If this is the first time you've seen my channel welcome make sure you hit that subscribe button so you do not miss out on any of the upcoming videos and if you're a returning subscriber well then welcome back now I know many of you have a lot of questions about this managed isolation program and in this video I will be sharing all of those with you so if you enjoy this video please do me a big favour and hit that thumbs up button share it with your friends family around the world. With that out of the way we can start to talk about what managed isolation has been like and my experiences entering New Zealand during this crazy time. If you've seen my previous video then you know all of the steps involved of getting out of our rental property in Los Angeles and getting prepared to move here to New Zealand.
Getting on my first flight in nearly a year was definitely surreal, take a look at what LAX was like for our trip this year.
I’ve never seen Los Angeles airport like that it was crazy it was like a ghost town. I mean some of these images are pretty surreal they look like they could be straight out of a zombie apocalypse movie.
We had no problems on the flight we got what's called a sky couch on Air New Zealand so we had our own row and we slept great and woke up the next morning and we're here in Auckland.
Well we have landed in Auckland and now we are waiting on a plane they've disembarked people who are traveling onwards to Australia and we're waiting for the Ministry of Health I believe to come on board and tell us what happens next.
Upon arrival we were greeted by medical professionals who gave us a temperature scan, they asked us some questions whether or not we were experiencing any symptoms from Covid 19 we said we weren't we passed our temperature scan we went to customs and I showed my passport, Carrie showed her visa and we were allowed into the country.
After that we were greeted by the military who gave us a bus ticket with a letter on it. We got really lucky the way this managed isolation program works there are different hotels across the entire country in different cities that have been co-opted to serve as these isolation and quarantine centres and some people flying into Auckland would have to go down to Christchurch or to Wellington or to Rotorua at these other different quarantine facilities. We got really lucky we only had to hop on a bus and travel for about 20 minutes from the airport to the CBD the central business district of Auckland and as you can see we got really lucky with a nice hotel with a great view of the sky tower and downtown Auckland.
Upon arrival to the hotel we were greeted by the military who were super kind and explained how the whole situation was going to work for the New Zealand Defence Force “I am the facility manager here so I am responsible for your stay for the next 14 days” while we were being told how the process was working another group of people were coming and taking our luggage and sanitizing it spraying it down with disinfectant to to kill the virus if it existed on any of the luggage.
Then we were taken checked into the hotel and we were asked to go directly up to our hotel rooms.
We have made it to Auckland we are so good in managed isolation and we just literally just arrived into our hotel room honestly I have so many emotions going on inside of me right now it's been such a crazy year in 2020 and moving to New Zealand is something we've been wanting to do for years and the fact that we are here now is just it's pretty surreal but also I just have nothing but great things to say about how well New Zealand is handling this how organized the entire experience was from beginning to end, and we have made it so we're in this room this little hotel room it's actually quite big we have our breakfast I’m hungry. This this hotel room is home for the next two weeks we are on day zero of managed isolation we took a shower when we got in and now we are off to go get our day zero Covid test.
We were called and asked to come back down to the lower floor of the hotel which they had turned into a covid testing facility.
Since we came from America we were deemed a high risk country as well as arrivals from the UK and that's because New Zealand is quite worried about the new variants of Covid that are sprouting up in the United Kingdom and America and in Brazil.
We did our first Covid test and we had to wait two days for the results from that test during that two-day period we were asked not to leave our hotel room.
Day two 48 hours after we arrived we got the results from our initial Covid tests back they were both negative thankfully and we were given these wristbands which allow us to leave our room go down to the lobby outside for a walk and give us a little bit more freedom.
So this is our walking spot workout spot, you can do a couple of laps around here. it's nice to get outside on day three we had our second Covid test we were negative so we've actually proven twice that we do not have coven and on day 11 tomorrow today is the tenth day of this two week managed isolation and I can't believe how quickly it's all gone by.
Tomorrow we have our last Covid test and that will be sufficient to prove that we do not have Covid 19 and on day 14 we will be released out into New Zealand.
Another little thing that has helped us pass the time is this gratitude calendar that my wife Carrie has created each day once we finish the day we flip over the piece of paper and we add three positive things that have happened to us during the day and it's just an easy way to kind of pass the time and maintain a positive optimistic outlet.
So I posted on my Instagram, Alex the Vagabond, and I asked you guys to ask me questions about the whole process so I’m just gonna pop in here real quick and I’m gonna answer a couple of those so for those of you wondering your food arrives three meals a day plus some snacks directly to your door you choose what you want the day or two before. There's a little newsletter here which is got some games and it just kind of explains what's on the schedule what's happening where we are breakfast today looks like we have some little pastries in there yum yum yum some juice fresh fruit okay looks good and then what else do we have? I think Carrie got a bap which for those of you who don't know is that it's kind of like a breakfast sandwich I guess they call baps, it's like a British word and there's a there's a Carrie everybody we're just this is the shower vlog welcome to the most intimate videos we'll ever make.
Then water also arrives whenever you want we ordered some flat whites which is good and there's so many like incredibly nice people who've reached out via Instagram who want to bring us like care packages so we will have some coffee and some stuff coming it should be good. How are you feeling?
Refreshed now that I’m out of the shower and I feel good that I’ve got a workout in thank you for inspiring me to do that and now I’m hungry yeah let's eat.
Lissie asks can you travel from one region to another in New Zealand?
Yes you can New Zealand does have a system of levels which correspond to the threat of Covid whether or not there's an outbreak right now they're in level one lowest level which means that people are moving around freely within the country and so once we get out we will be allowed to kind of go about our business and to travel around the country and find where we want to live.
Just W Travels asks me what's the first thing that I’m going to do when we get out of quarantine and I think it's gonna have to be a haircut because it's been quite a while. All of 2020 Carrie was cutting my hair in our backyard so I’m looking forward to getting a good haircut at a salon here from an actual hairstylist.
SamKletz97 says what's the best way to start the process of moving to another country? I'd say the best way to start the process is to first off decide where you want to go and secondly Google how you move there.
There should be a lot of information online you can always just call the consulate or the embassy of the country that you're interested in moving to and you can ask them how you go about moving there.
You're obviously gonna have to apply for a visa and different countries have different requirements yeah I would say the best way to do that is to just go online and do some research for yourself.
Sarah Bryan asks I'd love to know what the airplane journey was like did you have to wear face masks and shields or just masks and how spread out was everyone on the plane embarking and disembarking the plane etc. this flight was the first time that I had been on a plane in a year and there was some distancing especially when we were boarding and getting off of the plane but once you got on the plane you know people were sitting pretty close to each other there wasn't you know mandatory spaces between seats and you did have to keep your mask on for the entirety of the flight except for when you were eating or drinking.
So some people had full shields and masks I saw one person who was like in a full jumpsuit but we just wore our regular masks.
You know I also have read a lot of information saying that of all the indoor spaces that you can be in being inside of a plane is actually the safest due to how much air comes in and all of the different filtration systems that they have on the plane.
Birdie Bob Fleming asks will we go to an All Blacks game I do sincerely hope that we can make it to an All Blacks game but honestly the idea of going to a live sporting event or going to a concert is still something that's going to take us a while to get used to but I am looking forward to taking Carrie to her first All Blacks game.
I hope that you enjoyed this video it's been fun creating for all of you and I’m really looking forward to making as much content as I possibly can and staying consistent with weekly videos for all of you this year.
So if you enjoyed this video please make sure you give it a thumbs up and leave a comment down there in the comment section and if you are not subscribed to my channel then please do me a favour and hit that subscribe button.
Every single one of you count and I’m really looking forward to continuing to create for all of you in 2021.
So we are gonna finish out these last couple of days of managed isolation and I’ll have a new video for all of you on our first day out in New Zealand and yeah. As I always say train harder fail smarter and never give up okay? Peace.
A family’s MIQ experience
The ‘336 Hours in MIQ’ blog post on the Kea website explains in detail what happened in one family’s MIQ experience.
336 Hours in MIQ(external link) – Kea website
What it's like inside a managed isolation facility
A returnee describes her MIQ experience in this article on the Stuff website.