(Picture caption: The Government recently announced that by the end of June, 28 of the current 32 MIQ facilities will return to being hotels.)
By April 9, 2020, the world had recorded 103,000 COVID-related deaths and 1.57 million cases.
That same day, Managed Isolation and Quarantine (MIQ) started in New Zealand: 41 days after our first COVID case and 20 days after our borders were closed.
Its role has been critical, and MIQ has prevented COVID becoming widespread through communities while giving people a way to return home.
More recently, it bought time to vaccinate as many people as possible so New Zealand could confidently face COVID-19.
Managed Isolation and Quarantine became many things – a hotel chain, a bus company, an air charter service, a healthcare provider; a complex and unique eco-system operating under Alert-Level 4 conditions, and unlike anything New Zealand had seen before.
At its height, the equivalent of Kaiapoi’s population passed through managed isolation each month: 12,600 people in 9000 rooms every 28 days.
By February 2022, the MIQ workforce had helped almost 230,000 travellers – more than the population of Wellington - return home and gave New Zealanders time to get vaccinated.
By this point globally, COVID-19 had caused the deaths of 5.89 million people, and infected 425 million more.
In New Zealand the death toll was fewer than 60.
The Government recently announced that by the end of June, 28 of the current 32 facilities will leave the MIQ network and return to being hotels.
Managed Isolation and Quarantine is beginning to scale down its operations as international travel starts back up.
Four facilities will be continuing past June and through to December 2022, subject to review.
The Government’s decision gives MIQ the certainty to commence negotiations with its partners to consolidate and plan for the future.
Discussions are now underway with the facilities and MIQ workforce about their futures.
Some facilities are still required for certain groups in the next few months.
The MIQ workforce has helped 230,000 travellers – more than the population of Wellington - return home.
They have also cared for more than 4,400 community cases.
The MIQ workers have been at the frontline of keeping COVID-19 out of New Zealand, and they have made considerable personal sacrifices to make sure the wider community is safe.
On any given day there have been over 4,000 people working in MIQ.
Every day they have gone to work and put themselves between us and this virus. They truly have been our national heroes.