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Flood of entries for Christmas expected to book out NZ's managed isolation and quarantine hotels

Kiwis wanting to come home to New Zealand for Christmas should book their spaces in the managed isolation facilities soon, with operators expecting "near maximum capacity" ahead of the holiday season.

Source: istock.com

Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, only New Zealand permanent residents and citizens are currently allowed into the country, unless they get an exemption by the Ministry of Immigration.

All arrivals need to isolate for 14 days in a managed isolation centre until they test negative twice for Covid-19, on days three and 12 of their stay.

Now a Managed Isolation and Quarantine (MIQ) spokesperson warns capacity is heating up.

"We expect that between early November and Christmas we will be near maximum capacity," they told 1 NEWS.

"Understandably December is expected to be busier than other times of the year as people come home ahead of the holidays. 

"People wanting to come home during this period need to get their travel plans made immediately, or they may not be able to come home on their preferred dates."

From November 3, anyone entering the country needs to have a voucher for their stay in a MIQ facility.

They can book online using the Managed Isolation Allocation System.

If they don't have a voucher, their airlines will turn them away, the MIQ spokesperson says.

"Travellers are legally required to have a voucher before flying if they are arriving in New Zealand after 12am, 3 November 2020. This includes travellers returning from Australia," they say.

Australia recently opened a partial travel bubble, allowing people departing New Zealand to enter several Australian states without needing to quarantine for 14 days.

But the bubble is only one way - anyone arriving back into New Zealand still needs to undergo the managed isolation period.

The Government is also working to recover some of the MIQ costs, charging people who left after 11 August upon their arrival.

The fee is $3100 for the person or only person in the room, then $950 for additional adults and $475 for additional children sharing the room.

People who were overseas before 11 August, but are returning to New Zealand for less than 90 days, are also charged.

It's possible for people to apply for an exemption to the charges with MIQ.