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Rapid Assessment Helps Strengthen MIQ Operations Now And For The Future

The first independent assessment of MIQ has been released by the Ministry of Business, Innovation, and Employment (MBIE) today. Joint Head of Managed Isolation and Quarantine, Megan Main, says the report helps to provide assurance that MIQ is focused on the right things as it prioritises improvements for both the immediate and longer term.

The report is a proactive assessment, requested by MBIE Chief Executive Carolyn Tremain after the first six months of MIQ operation, as it became clearer that MIQ would be operating for some time. The authors were tasked with identifying what would be needed to set MIQ on a sustainable track for the future.

“MIQ has served New Zealand well, helping to bring more than 145,000 people here, while protecting the freedoms that we all now enjoy,”

“We are committed to always improving and wanted a fresh pair of eyes to help to ensure MIQ keeps performing well and to look for ways to further strengthen our systems and improve efficiency,” Megan Main said.

The report makes 82 recommendations to help ensure MIQ is sustainable and continues to improve, with 8 identified as ‘high priority’.

“These recommendations cover all facets of MIQ and identify practical opportunities to help future-proof operations, including IT upgrades and solutions, future staffing needs, and to help strengthen Iwi-Māori partnerships.

“Because MIQ changes at such a rapid pace, around 50 percent of the recommendations have already been completed, and a further 45 percent are underway or planning has commenced to address them. All of the eight high priority recommendations have work programmes aligned to them, or have already been completed”, Ms Main said.

“As the report says, the establishment of MIQ has been ‘an extraordinary collaborative effort’ and given the complex and ever-changing nature it has ‘achieved an admirable capability’.

“The multi-agency, dynamic nature of MIQ has of course presented challenges, but overall the inter-agency arrangements are working well, and everyone is driven by a desire to continue keeping our communities safe.

“I want to acknowledge all of our MIQ workers who work tirelessly at the front line of our fight against Covid-19. They have made considerable personal sacrifices and do a fantastic job. Responding to the global pandemic is a team effort, and all agencies are committed to working together to make the system the best it can be,” Ms Main said.

Update on Grand Mercure Managed Isolation Facility in Auckland

The Grand Mercure managed isolation facility in Auckland will reopen for returnees this weekend following an intensive deep-cleaning process, a thorough investigation by health officials and remediation of its ventilation system.

The carefully considered reopening follows a series of actions taken in response to a case of in-facility transmission of the virus earlier this year.

The group of experts on the Technical Advisory Group have carefully considered the findings from the investigation and the actions taken since and have deemed it’s safe for the Grand Mercure to reopen.

The risk presented by ventilation systems has always been assessed by health experts as very low. Because of the range of infection prevention and control measures in place, the review found that the overall risk of transmission to the returnees that were staying at the Grand Mercure, was also low.

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