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Release of new MIQ spots returns Monday

Spots in New Zealand's managed isolation facilities are being reopened, after the release of vouchers was paused due to the growing number of Covid-19 community cases in New Zealand. 

Source: 1 NEWS

Covid-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins confirmed the pause will lift on Monday, September 20.

"Local pressure on the MIQ system has started to ease and we do have rooms available between now and Christmas."

The first 3000 rooms for times across September, October, November and December will be available from Monday. 

Four thousand rooms a fortnight will be released in stages over these months. 

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However, the way people can book has changed. Source: 1 NEWS

However, there will be some changes - with an online MIQ booking 'lobby' opening at 8am Monday and the room releases starting on 9am. 

Hipkins said they hoped it would even the playing field in booking spots, but accepted there would likely be more demand than rooms available. 

"It's not a first in and first serve model. Everyone who enters the lobby at that time will have an equal chance to book."

People who wanted to travel on red flights from Australia would not be included in Monday's release.

"We are planning another voucher release in September which we do expect people from Australia will be able to access."

The Government is making a decision on the trans-Tasman bubble in the next week, which will impact the availability of red flights.

While they Government looked at options to make it easier for fully vaccinated people to enter New Zealand from next year, they expected pressure on MIQ would continue to mid-2022. 

"The lobby system is a big change," he said.

The Prime Minister said on Tuesday that people were still coming into New Zealand to stay at MIQ facilities, except the regular release of vouchers had been on pause. 

"We’ve had to prioritise those in the outbreak in New Zealand into going into our managed isolation facilities, and I think people understand why," she said. 

The system had been criticised after people had been profiting off securing MIQ spots for returnees, due to the difficulty to secure a spot. 

Officials had been asked repeatedly around the creation of a wait-list.  

Fourteen new Covid-19 community cases were reported today.