Wellington Scoop

Returning NZers taken to hotel on the Terrace, for 14-day isolation

grand mercure isolation

Report from RNZ
New Zealanders returning home on a repatriation flight from South Korea were taken to a managed isolation hotel in Wellington today, a first for the capital. They are staying at the Grand Mercure on The Terrace.

The Ministry of Health said a domestic charter flight brought the returnees to Wellington after they arrived in Auckland this morning. The ministry said the returnees were the only passengers on board the domestic flight.

There are now 21 managed isolation hotels in the country in Auckland, Rotorua, Christchurch and now Wellington. The Ministry needs to accommodate the increasing number of New Zealanders returning home and says other regions may be used.

The principal of Te Aro School, which is opposite the Wellington hotel being used as a managed isolation facility, has no concerns about the use for isolation, but was surprised the guests arrived during school pickup time. The principal, Sue Clement, didn’t think they were going to turn up mid-afternoon and the move caused some chaos.

“I had expected them either earlier or later in the afternoon, after our children had left,” she said. “And it involved a number of staff supporting me on the drive, in order for us to safely see our children off the school premises and home for the weekend.”

However, she said she was reassured by her communication with the Health Ministry that the guests would be kept separate from schoolchildren.

She said the exercise area for the guests was on the third floor of the hotel carpark, so no-one would leave the site. Clement said the school community wanted the new arrivals to feel welcome.