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 …