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The Kiwis take their quarantine way more seriously
It is very, very difficult to get into New Zealand right now. Even if you’re a New Zealand citizen, returning home is a highly regulated process that requires booking a spot in what’s known as Managed Isolation and Quarantine (MIQ). All arrivals are immediately sent to government-managed hotels where they are isolated for 14 days, provided with meals and tested regularly. The system is currently booked up until April, so any Kiwi looking to jet overseas for a wedding or to sit at the deathbed of a loved one faces the prospect of being locked out of their home country for at least three months.
Until the new restrictions, Canada’s quarantine of international travellers, by contrast, has depended largely on the honour system. As of January 7, incoming travellers to Canada needed to provide proof of a negative COVID-19 test, but prior to that the only real requirement was that foreign arrivals needed to pledge to quarantine for 14 days. Incredibly, Canada didn’t implement even basic airport temperature checks until July.
The New Zealand system is expensive (roughly $6,000 per arrival) but it’s very effective. As of October, 2020, the MIQ system had caught 215 cases of travellers entering New Zealand with a COVID-19 infection. On one particular flight from Dubai, seven passengers were found to be infected once in MIQ, despite the fact that they had tested negative for COVID-19 just before departure.
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