Grandfather of ICU doctor in MIQ who pleaded for leave to see him, dies overnight

Source: 1News

The grandfather of a Kiwi woman who has pleaded with Managed Isolation and Quarantine (MIQ) to see him in his last days has died overnight on Thursday.

Fayzah Mutlib travelled to New Zealand on Sunday from Melbourne where she works at a public hospital as a critical care doctor in order to see her grandfather, Abdul, who had terminal cancer.

After Abdul became sick a few weeks ago, she knew she had to come home to say goodbye. Doctors gave Mutlib a letter on Monday, October 25 telling her he had only 48 hours to live.

However, Abdul died in the early hours of Thursday morning.

"My beloved grandfather passed away at 12.50am without me being able to see him. May he rest in peace," Mutlib told 1News. 

She had applied three times in as many days for an exemption under the exceptional circumstances category and has had all three applications declined. 

The family are Muslim and would need need to bury him within 24 hours of his death. Now her plight will turn to seeking leave to attend his funeral.

After Mutlib's third application to MIQ was declined on Wednesday night, she told 1News she would apply a fourth time, however MBIE have relayed how rare it is for an exemption to be granted. 

Joint Head of Managed Isolation Brigadier Rose King told 1News after Mutlib was denied a second time that "decisions on exemptions from managed isolation are not easy ones to make and we are very sympathetic to the distressing situations people applying for exemption from managed isolation are in".

"When considering applications for exemption from managed isolation a number of public health required factors are considered, including the country the person has come from, the number of countries they travelled through to get to New Zealand, the number of airports they transited through, the work they may have been involved in before coming to New Zealand, and where and who they intend to visit on release.

"Ms Mutlib’s application was denied as she has travelled from Victoria which is currently considered a high-risk location, where she was a frontline health worker. In her application Ms Mutlib also noted she wished to isolate with other family members. If any of these factors were to change, we would encourage Ms Mutlib to reapply.

"All applications for exemptions are assessed on a case-by-case basis. The threshold is extremely high and exemptions are rare," King said.

Mutlib has been double vaccinated since July and has so far tested negative for Covid-19, but it hasn't been enough to satisfy the requirements for a leave pass.

Her plight was taken up by Auckland MPs Chlöe Swarbrick and David Seymour on Wednesday prior to the third rejection.

“We’re writing to Ashley Bloomfield, he has the ability to make an exception. I hope that he will listen this time,” Seymour told 1News.

The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) and the Ministry of Health have been approached for comment.