Staff at managed isolation and quarantine facilities have successfully managed the return home of 130,000 New Zealanders and kept five million Kiwis safe, COVID-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins says.
Today marks one year since the managed isolation and quarantine system was put in place.
“A little over a year ago, no-one could have envisaged what it would take to protect New Zealand from a fast-growing, deadly pandemic,” Chris Hipkins said.
“Quick decisions needed to be made and our managed isolation and quarantine system was one of those. The facilities have proven to be a cornerstone of our response and instrumental in allowing New Zealanders to return home while largely keeping COVID-19 out of the country.
“Their success is a testament to the many thousands of public and private sector staff who have cycled in and out of jobs at the 32 facilities over the past year. Their actions have contributed hugely to our ability to live close to normal, pandemic-free lives.
“The cleaners, security guards, NZDF personnel, nurses, police, social workers and many others, have worked tirelessly to ensure the system has functioned as well as it has.
“Operating day after day at what is an Alert Level 4 system at the border has put them on the COVID-19 front line, and I’m sure all New Zealanders will join me in saluting them for their dedication and bravery. They are heroes.
“It has been an extraordinary year,” Chris Hipkins said.
The managed isolation and quarantine system has been one of the largest public and private sector efforts in New Zealand’s history, and the largest peace-time operation in the New Zealand Defence Force’s history, with over a third of NZDF personnel working at MIQ facilities over the last 12 months.
The other public agencies involved include the Ministry of Health, District Health Boards, New Zealand Defence Force, New Zealand Police, Aviation Security Service, Oranga Tamariki and the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment.
Media contact: Gia Garrick 021 049 1336