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Government announces MIQ shake up to separate returnees

New Zealand's managed isolation system is in for a shake up, with new rules set to separate returnees arriving at different dates to reduce the risk of spreading Covid-19. 

People walk past a MIQ facility. Source: Getty

Covid-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins announced the change today, after the opening of the trans-Tasman bubble freed up hundreds of extra MIQ spaces and had give the Government "options to manage risk in ways that were not previously available".

The new changes would see all returnees in a particular 96-hour window be put into the same MIQ facilities until it is full or the time period is over.

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"The facilities will then 'lock down' for a 14-day cycle with no additional returnees allowed until after the last of the cohort have completed their stay and the facilities have been cleaned," Hipkins said. 

It intends to keep those who have just arrived away from people about to leave the MIQ facility. 

"This will ensure returnees will be in the same facility as others who have arrived at about the same time, and importantly, will keep those who have just arrived apart from those who are coming to the end of their stay," Hipkins said. 

It comes after an investigation was launched after five people were found to have been infected with Covid-19 while at the Pullman Hotel, not testing positive until after they were released into the community.

The Pullman will be the first hotel to use the new cohorted system.