MIQ timeline

The managed isolation and quarantine system constantly evolved as we learned more about COVID-19. This timeline shows the history and origins of MIQ.

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July 2023

  • 1 July 2023 – national quarantine and isolation (MIQ) transfers back to the health system. 

May 2022

  • 2 May 2022 – Government removes its Maritime Border Order requiring people arriving by the maritime border to enter MIQ.
  • 3 May 2022 – The decision is made that the last 4 facilities will close by August 2022 due to low occupancy.

March 2022

  • Government announces Step 2 of Reconnecting New Zealand, allowing vaccinated New Zealanders and other eligible travellers from the rest of the world to travel to New Zealand without self-isolating.
  • 10 March 2022 – Government announces that with our borders opening, 28 of the current 32 facilities will return to being hotels by end of June.
  • 24 March 2022 – With New Zealand now reopening to the world and MIQ winding down, the voucher booking system is closing.
  • About 90% of MIQs New Zealand Defence Force have returned to camps and bases about the country.

February 2022

  • Phase 2 of Government’s Omicron plan reduces the MIQ stay for international arrivals into New Zealand to 7 days.
  • Government announces 5-step plan for travellers to enter New Zealand without going through managed isolation and quarantine.
  • 27 February 2022 – fully vaccinated eligible travellers travelling to New Zealand from Australia begin self-isolation.

January 2022

  • Commodore Melissa Ross joins MIQ as Head of Operations.

December 2021

  • 11 December 2021 – MIQ welcomes 200,000th returnee.
  • Omicron variant emerges. Border arrivals to stay for at least 10 days in MIQ.
  • Bay Plaza facility in Wellington closes and returns to operating as a hotel.
  • Brigadier Rose King ends secondment as joint Head of MIQ.
  • Deputy Secretary Chris Bunny continues as Head of MIQ.

November 2021

  • The Quality Hotel Elms in Christchurch becomes the newest MIQ facility.
  • MIQ stay for international arrivals into NZ reduces to 7 days, followed by isolation at home.

October 2021

  • Deputy Chief Executive Megan Main leaves role as joint head of MIQ.
  • Deputy Secretary Chris Bunny steps in as new Head of MIQ.

September 2021

  • A virtual lobby is added to the booking system to manage the high demand for MIQ spaces. The lobby opens weekly.

August 2021

  • MIQ extends quarantine facilities and takes in community cases with the new Delta variant.
  • Delta outbreak, all of New Zealand moves to alert level 4.

July 2021

  • Quarantine free travel with Australia is suspended.

June 2021

  • 11 June 2021 – Brigadier Rose King takes over as new head of MIQ Operations, co-leading with MBIE Deputy Secretary Megan Main.
  • MIQ welcomes 150,000th returnee.

May 2021

  • 20 May 2021 – Delivered over 2 million total nights in MIQ facilities.

April 2021

  • 9 April 2021 – New Zealanders mark 1 year since managed isolation and quarantine became mandatory.
  • 130,000 people have stayed at a facility in the last year.
  • Quarantine free travel with Australia opens.

March 2021

  • First workers are fully vaccinated against COVID-19.
  • 24 March 2021 – Quarantine-free travel from Niue to New Zealand starts.

February 2021

  • 20 February 2021 – COVID-19 Immunisation Programme starts and first MIQ workers receive vaccinations.

January 2021

  • Pre-departure tests and day 0/1 testing is introduced for all arrivals except for low-risk countries including Australia, Antarctica and some Pacific nations.
  • Review of processes to keep returnees coming from the same flights together and separate from returnees who may be at a different stage of their isolation Reviewed ventilation in facilities
  • 17 January 2021 – The first of 2000 Recognised Seasonal Employer (RSE) scheme workers enter managed isolation.
  • 19 January 2021 – MIQ welcomes 100,000th returnee.
  • 21 January 2021 – Quarantine-free travel from the Cook Islands to New Zealand starts.

December 2020

  • “Thanks from Iso” exhibition opens
  • New COVID-19 variants identified overseas
  • First festive season celebrated
  • 14 December – Brigadier Jim Bliss takes over as new head of MIQ, co-leading with MBIE Deputy Secretary Megan Main.
  • 25 December 2020 – Nationwide billboards thank MIQ workers, Auckland Sky Tower lights up in yellow in support of MIQ workers.

November 2020

  • Hon Chris Hipkins is appointed as Minister for COVID-19 Response responsible for MIQ.
  • 20 November 2020 – 75,000 returnees have been through MIQ.

October 2020

  • 5 October 2020 – The Managed Isolation Allocation System goes live. From 3 November 2020, travellers are legally required to have a MIQ voucher before flying if they are arriving in New Zealand.

September 2020

  • MIQ staff are tested weekly in quarantine facilities and fortnightly in managed isolation facilities.
  • 11 September 2020 – MIQ welcomes the 50,000th returnee.
  • First sports team in MIQ: The Wallabies are staying at MIQ in Christchurch.

August 2020

  • Standard Operating Procedures and Operations Framework across all facilities are in place.
  • 11 August 2020 – Charges for some users of MIQ are introduced.
  • 19 August 2020 – The New Zealand Defence Force becomes an ongoing part of MIQ and deploys 500 additional personnel taking the total to about 990 defence personnel at managed isolation facilities.
  • 20 August 2020 – Additional security systems are rolled out across facilities, including improved CCTV and electronic access systems.
  • MIQ website goes live.

July 2020

  • Responsibility for MIQ moves to the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment with Deputy Secretary Megan Main appointed as co-lead with Air Commodore Webb.
  • MIQ has 31 facilities in 5 regions. After security breaches, a permanent police presence at each facility and additional security staff is deployed.
  • 14 July 2020 – The Bay Plaza in Wellington comes online as the 32nd and so far last managed isolation facility.
  • First deportees since the beginning of the pandemic arrive from Australia.
  • First Welcome Pack issued to returnees staying at MIQ.

June 2020

  • MIQ expands with new facilities opening in Rotorua, Christchurch, Hamilton and Auckland.
  • 19 June 2020 – Air Commodore Darryn (Digby) Webb and Minister of Housing Hon Megan Woods are given responsibility for overseeing managed isolation and quarantine facilities

April 2020

  • 9 April 2020 – The Director-General of Health issues an Order requiring all people entering New Zealand by air to enter managed isolation and quarantine. The first of 18 facilities open at midnight.

March 2020

  • New Zealand closes its borders to anyone but New Zealand citizens and residents. International travellers are asked to self-isolate. From 26 March, travellers stay at the Novotel Ellerslie for self-isolation. 

February 2020

  • Repatriated New Zealanders from Wuhan stay at a temporary isolation facility at Whangaparaoa.
  • 28 February 2020 – New Zealand’s first case of COVID-19 is announced
Last updated: 30 June 2023