Mayor Lianne Dalziel is supporting the Government’s move to run a pilot programme in Christchurch and Auckland that allows a small pool of international travellers to complete their two weeks isolation at home.
“I’ve been assured that only travellers who are fully vaccinated and who meet a strict set of criteria outlined by the Government will be allowed to take part in this pilot programme so the risk to our communities is very low,’’ Mayor Dalziel says.
“Our MIQ facilities are coming under enormous pressure, with demand far outstripping supply. We need to start looking at alternative ways of managing our borders and allowing low-risk arrivals to self-isolate at home is an option that is worth investigating on a trial basis,’’ the Mayor says.
The trial was announced by Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern on Monday, with further details released this afternoon by COVID-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins.
The trial will be conducted in Christchurch and Auckland. It will be capped at 150 people and will focus on businesses and employees required to travel internationally for work purposes.
Those taking part must be New Zealand residents and will need to be scheduled to arrive in New Zealand between 30 October and 8 December, with final travellers leaving isolation by 22 December.
They will need to self-isolate in a private dwelling, with no shared ventilation system. The house will need to have cellular coverage because those taking part will be monitored through smart phone technology.
They will be unable to have visitors during their 14 days in self-isolation except for medical staff for testing, which will be mandatory, or emergency reasons. Contactless deliveries will be allowed.
“The pilot is to explore a new pathway of entry into New Zealand and allows the Government to test operational readiness, identify areas where further work is required to scale up the approach and provide valuable insights into our options for the future,'' Mr Hipkins says.
“Participants will be selected through an Expressions of Interest (EOI) process. Employers will need to apply on behalf of their employees and can submit their EOI from 9am, Thursday 30 September until 5pm, Saturday 9 October. Businesses are encouraged to check the criteria carefully.
As demand is expected to be higher than the numbers in the pilot, all eligible EOIs will be put into a ballot and spread across the six-week arrival timeframe.
“Public safety and keeping COVID-19 out of the community still remains our top priority,” the Minister says.