COVID-19 – Managed isolation and quarantine

The processes around managed isolation and quarantine, to keep COVID-19 from entering the community.

Alert Level 1

Under Alert Level 1, all people entering New Zealand must go immediately into managed isolation or quarantine facilities. They will remain there for at least 14 days and test negative for COVID-19 before they can go into the community.

Some people may apply for an exemption from managed isolation in exceptional circumstances, but they should apply before they leave their own country.

All compassionate leave exemptions are currently suspended.

Last updated: 3 July 2020

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Managed isolation and quarantine

Every person who arrives in New Zealand must be isolated from other people in New Zealand for a minimum period of 14 days. They must then test negative for COVID-19 before they can go into the community.

More about border control measures

The New Zealand government has arranged for hotels to be used for managed isolation and quarantine for people arriving in the country.

Managed isolation

If people do not have symptoms of COVID-19 on arrival, they will be placed in a managed isolation facility. They may not leave their facility unless they have applied for and received an exemption from isolation from health officials. However, they can go for walks under the condition they do not have contact with other people in the community.

Quarantine

If people do have symptoms of COVID-19 on arrival, or test positive after arrival, they will be placed in a quarantine facility. These people will be unable to leave their room.

Facilities

All travellers who arrive in New Zealand will be tested for COVID-19 at their respective facilities. Details of how and when the testing will happen will be provided at the facility.

All people in managed isolation and quarantine will be provided with three meals a day, and have other basic needs met such as having prescription medicines delivered to them.

There is no cost to people in these facilities for accommodation, food or associated basic needs. People may use online delivery services to purchase items at their own cost. Friends and family members may not visit or drop off items to people staying in these facilities.

Before leaving the facility, a final health check will be carried out confirming the person:

  • has not tested positive for COVID-19 or is not a probable case
  • does not have symptoms of COVID-19
  • has a temperature below 38 degrees Celsius.

What happens when you arrive

All people entering New Zealand on a flight from another country must go into managed isolation or quarantine for at least 14 days.

You will disembark in small groups and be met by Government officials at the gate. You will then be screened at the airport for COVID-19 symptoms on arrival.

If you have a domestic transit flight, you will not be allowed to connect to that flight.

You will be taken to either a managed isolation facility (if you have no symptoms), or to a quarantine facility (if you have symptoms).

All travellers arriving in New Zealand must wear face masks from the time they disembark the aircraft until they arrive at their hotel. Further information about use of face masks will be provided at the hotel.

Exemptions from managed isolation

There are a few exceptional circumstances in which people can apply for an exemption to leave managed isolation, such as:

  • People who require a medical transfer
  • People with medical or physical needs which can’t be managed in the accommodation provided
  • People in transit through New Zealand
  • People entering the country as essential health workers

People in quarantine are not eligible for any exemptions.

If you are planning to enter New Zealand, you should apply for an exemption before you travel. If you do not hold an exemption when you arrive, you will be placed in managed isolation.

Exemptions are rarely granted, and you should not expect that your application will be approved.

You can apply for an exemption once you are in managed isolation. Please note that you should allow some time for your application to be processed.

The exemption categories are these:

People who require a medical transfer

If being transferred to hospital, a letter from the DHB verifying they will enable self-isolation in hospital or discharged within 14 days, they will be required to complete the time in a managed isolation facility.

To apply for a medical exemption, complete the application form below and email it to: MI_exemptions@health.govt.nz

People with medical or physical needs which can’t be managed in the accommodation provided

Applications in this category need to be supported with clinical evidence from a registered medical practitioner. Needs considered are the needs of the individual arriving in New Zealand, not of others already in New Zealand.

To apply for a medical exemption, complete the application form below and email it to: MI_exemptions@health.govt.nz.  

People in transit through New Zealand

People entering New Zealand with plans to travel on to another country will go into managed isolation. Any requests for exemption will be considered on a case by case basis.

Information for travellers who will transit through New Zealand en route to other countries is available on the Immigration New Zealand website

To apply for a medical exemption, email MI_exemptions@health.govt.nz.  

People entering the country as essential health workers

Applications in this category need to be supported by a letter from the relevant government department, essential service employers or lifeline utility.

To apply for an exemption as an essential health worker, email MI_exemptions@health.govt.nz, along with the completed travel and self-isolation form below.

Compassionate exemptions

All compassionate exemptions from managed isolation have been suspended.

These may be reinstated later, but people entering New Zealand should not expect to be granted compassionate exemptions for grieving with family, spending time with someone at end of life, or attending funerals or tangihanga.

No one in managed isolation are allowed to attend funerals or tangihanga, due to the number of attendees usually present. COVID-19 could now spread quickly at these gatherings, and that risk must be avoided.

All people planning to enter the country should take this current suspension into consideration in their travel plans.

Children who are travelling alone

Children travelling alone will need to enter managed isolation, but parents or caregivers can ask to join them. Children, parents and caregivers must all remain in managed isolation for at least 14 days.

To apply to join a child travelling alone, email: MI_exemptions@health.govt.nz.

Apply for an exemption

  • The criteria for granting exemptions has been tightened under Level 1. Health officials will consider a range of factors including risk of exposure in your country of origin.
  • It is likely that your application for an exemption will not be successful.
  • See below for how to apply for each type of exemption. Before applying, please note you will need your flight details, your National Health Index number (if known), and supporting evidence for your request.

Appeals process

If you applied for an exemption and it was declined, you can request that your application be reconsidered by emailing MI_Exemptions@health.govt.nz. Include the details of your original application with any requested additional information.

If you are unhappy with your review decision, or if you have not received a review decision promptly, you can complain directly to the Ombudsman via the Ombudsman’s website or email to info@ombudsman.parliament.nz (with ‘urgent exemption complaint’ in the subject line).

 

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