The next release of MIQ rooms on January 20 has been postponed because of the “unprecedented number of Omicron cases coming into New Zealand and MIQ”.
The number of positive cases at the border has increased “10-fold” compared to December.
The decision on the date of the next release will be made in coming weeks as part of Cabinet’s considerations on the border and Reconnecting New Zealand.
The postponed release comes as the increase in border Omicron cases puts more strain on the system.
“We are seeing a large increase of Omicron cases at the border which means more rooms are needed for Quarantine,” MIQ head Chris Bunny said.
“The move to a 10-day MIQ stay just before Christmas has resulted in a reduction in overall MIQ capacity, by approximately 30 per cent” but vouchers for January and February were issued over the past few months based on a seven-day stay.
“We now need to carefully manage our capacity for these months. We are working hard to make sure we honour all vouchers that have been issued,” Bunny said.
“We appreciate that this will be disappointing for many people wanting to come back to New Zealand. The Government’s strategy is to minimise the risk of Omicron in New Zealand as much as possible.”
“There will be room releases in the future for people wanting to secure rooms, however right now we cannot proceed as planned.”