In case you’re not aware, MIQ stands for Managed Isolation and Quarantine. Part of the NZ government’s ‘Unite Against COVID-19’ management plan it’s occasionally seen as controversial by certain (misguided IMHO) people here in New Zealand, yet envied throughout the world.
I’ve read about some who feel NZ should just go for ‘herd immunity’, or that this is still ‘just like the flu so why are we taking it so seriously’. Or one man in MIQ Rotorua who recently decided to go on an eight-day hunger strike to see if anyone noticed. It’s truly incredible. Maybe those people should consider leaving NZ (and not re-entering!) and experience what life’s like in the world’s hotspots instead, where the government’s management is slap hazard, to say the least? If Jacinda and the Labour party don’t win the upcoming election, in my view NZ will join the other countries with leaders whose priorities are dangerously awry, and the world is on a downward spiral to destruction. Again, that’s my perception, I don’t speak on behalf of anyone else.
Today, Sunday 23rd August 2020, is our first full day at the Sudima Hotel at Christchurch Airport. I intend to post daily for the next 14 days, to share our experiences – and keep them for ourselves for posterity. If there’s anything I don’t write about, that you’d like to know more about, feel free to comment below, and I’ll do my best to share what I can.
Eating and Drinking
One of the positives of MIQ for me is not having to cook! The downside is we have little choice over what we eat. It seems that each day with breakfast comes the day’s menu.
We hear a knock on the door announcing the delivery, then find the paper bag and contents sitting outside. I’ve yet to see the person who leaves it but call out a ‘thank you’, in the hope they hear it and know their efforts are appreciated
Don’t worry, I shan’t bore you by posting pictures of our food every day 😉
I was overjoyed to read we’re able to order a proper coffee too – at a cost of course! Barry’s content with instant granules for his once-a-day one whereas I’m far fussier.
It’s fabulous to taste a good New Zealand coffee again.
Keeping Sane and Fit
Undoubtedly it’s going to be stressful at times being couped up in a room for 14 days with little interaction with others. Although we’re ‘allowed’ to go outside for fresh air and exercise, we intend to do that minimally to reduce any risks.
Yesterday afternoon we were told by a friendly military woman on the bus, we could request to have an item of gym equipment delivered to the room. I’m not a gym person generally. However, the thought of being able to use a static bike during our enforced stay seemed appealing. I called about one yesterday evening. When I heard it would be $15 a day, and it’d have to remain throughout our time, I hesitated. I realised overnight wine is $28 a bottle – and that’s subsidised! So if Barry ordered one of those daily, the cost of the bike is justified and far more cost-effective!
A microwave was also requested, but that hasn’t been forthcoming. I suspect they’ve run out. Ah well, you can’t have everything!
Mask Wearing Choices
Talking of masks, wearing one from arrival at Heathrow around 10 am on Thursday morning UK time (9 pm NZ time), to around 3.30 pm NZ time yesterday, was an interesting experience. I’ve mostly got used to having to wear a face mask in the UK to go into any shops, but that’s for a maximum of about an hour. This time it was around 42 hours. The tops of our ears felt like they were starting to blister with the friction from the ties.
I chose to wear a filter mask from Totobobo UK, for the duration until we landed in Auckland when I changed to my home-made ‘crazy paua’ mask. That’s what the material is called. I bought it in Gisborne in 2009, and we used it for our Wainui wedding top-tablecloth. The Totobobo mask has replaceable filters, and I cleaned it with spirit swabs and changed the filters every 12 hours. The difference in the ability to breathe once a new filter was put in was immediately noticeable. I guess that’s due to the amount of pollutant captured by the filters.
Barry, on the other hand, wore the mask I’d made him initially, then found the ‘surgical’ masks comfier. He tried the Totobobo mask I’d bought him, a larger size than mine, but didn’t like it at all. I guess we’re all different. So long as we wear one that covers our nose and mouth, that we don’t have to keep adjusting because it doesn’t fit well, then that’s okay.
Here in MIQ, there’s a ready supply of the medical/surgical type, which everyone seems to wear. Which is fine if you can get them. I’m finding them acceptable because we only have to wear them for short periods. They feel too loose and flimsy for my liking, and I see people fiddling with them frequently because they don’t fit well. I suspect ‘mask-fiddling’ is worse than not wearing one at all for spreading COVID-19! This evening I spotted this ‘Good Morning Britain’ video though that I’m going to experiment with:
A Welcome Visitor
When we were told yesterday that Christchurch was our MIQ destination, as well as being surprised, we were happy because it meant we’d be near Barry’s daughter Jamie. We discovered we’re allowed ‘drop-offs’ at the hotel, and Jamie wanted to bring us a few treats. I signed the ‘Personal Delivery Authority To Search’ form and called reception to let them know she’d be coming. They collected the signed form from outside our room as we’re not allowed to go to the reception. Anything brought in is searched for ‘alcohol, illegal drugs, or weapons’. Bit of a shame as she’d bought a pack of craft beers especially for Barry, but didn’t bring them after I’d told her it wasn’t allowed.
We took the opportunity to see and have a brief chat with Jamie through the perimeter fence after she’d dropped off a bag of goodies for us. What a blessing it is to be ‘stuck’ in Christchurch!
There’s a large open space for us to walk outside, with plenty of room for families too. It’s not a problem to maintain a physical distance from others. A Security Guard signed us out and back in again, and the fence has a 2-metre perimeter, ensuring it’s impossible to get too near anyone outside of the MIQ facility.
It’s pretty cool here. Temperature-wise. Thankfully we brought winter coats! It’s also pretty cool here in many positive ways. Everyone’s helpful and friendly. Having previously said we’ll have little interaction with others, today alone I’ve spoken to:
- a lovely lady in reception twice,
- the two women who delivered our exercise bike,
- the security guard who signed us out and in,
- and the nurse who came to ask us how we are and take our temperatures.
It’s not so bad being ‘stuck’ here so far …
23 thoughts on “MIQ Day 1 – Settling In Nicely”
Can you receive Countdown deliveries while in MIQ? When do you find out which hotel /town you are going to be put into?
Kia Ora Sherry. We were able to get grocery deliveries at Sudima Christchurch. The MIQ you stay at will provide information about that (no alcohol though). I believe you still don’t know where you’re going until you’re told once you arrive in NZ. Good luck 👍
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Do you have full access and use of internet? are you using the hotel wifi? are they charging for it? were you able to obtain a sim card for your phone
Hi Catherine. Yes full access to free WiFi at the hotel. We were all given free SIM cards on arrival at the hotel. I’m still using my UK phone and sim though as I’m on contract till October and have global roaming on it 😉
Do you know what the difference is between Managed Isolation and Quarantine?
Pip, all people who arrive here in NZ go into Managed Isolation, unless they are already showing symptoms. In which case they go into Managed Quarantine. As Sandra has said, all people in Isolation get tested on Day 3 and Day 12. At either time, if they test positive, they get moved to Quarantine.
Yes. Managed Isolation is for anyone arriving in New Zealand, who hasn’t knowingly been in contact with COVID-19, or isn’t showing any symptoms. Quarantine is the converse – or someone from MI who shows signs or has a positive test. The support and care are obviously increased for quarantine. I believe there are five rooms at this hotel for anyone requiring quarantine.
I’d meant what are the conditions and care like in quarantine compared to MI. Presumably similar but much less opportunity for contact with other people, apart from those who have to see them. I strongly suspect you’d rather not find out! 😉
Your suspicions are correct 😂
But do they have armed guards keeping them in check? 🙂
I doubt it. But tbh I have no idea 😉
I was joking, and hopefully there is no need for the military. Hope yoyr second day goes well
Oh there’s definitely a need for the strong military presence for Managed Isolation and Quarantine. There’s police too. And security guards. A handful of returnees are non-compliant and they won’t know who till they go stir crazy I guess 😜
Great to see you have arrived safely in God’s own. Love following your movements still. Make the most of your isolation until to get back to Gisborne.
Kia Ora Dot. Thank you. It’s good to be back. We’re very impressed at the managed isolation arrangements. It must be a nightmare to oversee
Good to see and read that you are doing well.
Would you mind if I posted your blog on FB to share with others, particularly so people can get an insider’s view of MIQ rather than the doom and gloom view portrayed by the media here, dammit!?
There is clearly a lot of thought that has gone into making sure people are well cared for and about.
Yay that Jamie and her dad were able to see each other, converse and send virtual hugs across the 2m!
Big hugs, Mxxoo
Kia ora Marilyn. Of course, please share away. If you post a link to our NB Areandare FB page, people can read it daily. Of course, they can also sign up to get the updates in their email inbox. I’m totally tired and despairing at the negative portrayal, it sinks! A handful of New Zealanders it seems have no comprehension of how fortunate they are, and how well managed this country is currently 🙁
Thanks for that, Sandra. The negative portrayal is extremely frustrating and appears to be driven by the excessively negative media coverage. I will load your post on FB and ask if anyone wants to see your daily updates.
keep enjoying the exercycle and the food and wine. Good to see the pineapple lumps in the care package! Next thing is a pack of jaffas, girl!
Big hugs, Mxx
I call it ‘brainwashing’ and subliminal messaging. Sadly the media seem to be ruled by unscrupulous folks who are more concerned with accumulating money than caring for people. I am amazed and saddened that it happens in New Zealand. It’s shameful 🙁
Friends who returned to the UK from NZ in February brought us pineapple lumps back, but we haven’t been able to see them due to the lockdown. So Barry is very happy! We’ve got to be mindful of how much we can eat in 14 days – our suitcases are already full, and we’ve got to fly to Gisborne still lol 😉
I think if you eat them while on the exercycle their effect is neutral. Also, they are brown, wholemeal is brown, wholemeal is healthy, therefore pineapple lumps are healthy. And you can eliminate their calories by cutting them in half – that way the calories leak out.
All of these things are fact – the partner I worked for at PwC back in the early 2000s told me so and he would never lie!
I love it!