MIQ room release: Kiwis stranded in Australia locked out

New Zealanders stranded in Australia will miss out on booking a spot in MIQ as the next batch of rooms are released tomorrow.

A further 1,250 rooms will be available to book using the online lobby system for people returning to New Zealand in March and April.

The MIQ room release was previously scheduled for December 23 but it was cancelled and moved to Thursday following a government announcement that the length of stay would be extended to 10 days, with no self-isolation component, due to the threat of the Omicron variant.

It’s the first room release since December 16.

But with the Omicron variant delaying the Government’s plan to open a “self-isolation pathway from Australia”, it means citizens in Australia will not be permitted to book a room in an MIQ facility.

“Airlines do not currently have any red flights scheduled from Australia for March or April,” it said on the Manged Isolation and Quarantine website.

“For this reason, those travelling from Australia will not be able to participate in tomorrow’s room release.

“MIQ is working with airlines in relation to schedules and future releases.

“There are further rooms available for March and April that will be released in future lobbies.”

The online lobby will open at midday tomorrow and the next MIQ room release is scheduled for 1pm.

The Government’s three-phase plan to re-open the country’s international borders has been pushed out to February after transmission of the Omicron variant spread globally prior to Christmas.

Kiwis in Australia were hoping to return home MIQ-free from January 16.

This stage would allow fully vaccinated Kiwis and other eligible travellers to travel from Australia and self-isolate at home for seven days instead of going through MIQ.

Phase 2, would have allowed fully vaccinated Kiwis and other eligible travellers from all other countries to travel to New Zealand with self-isolation instead of MIQ. This stage was planned for February 13.

The delay is to provide the opportunity for more Kiwis to receive a booster dose of the Covid vaccination – three doses provide better protection against Omicron, the Government said.

There were 23 new cases identified at the border on Wednesday.

“While whole genome sequencing of these cases is expected soon, the likelihood is that Omicron will continue to be the most prevalent variant at our borders,” the Ministry of Health said.

“This variant of Covid-19 continues to be having a significant impact globally, so it is not unexpected to see an increase of Omicron cases at the border.”

The Australian Department of Health said 64,767 new cases of Covid-19 were detected there in the last 24 hours.

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