Saturday, December 4

New Zealanders vaccinated abroad demand access to home isolation

Home isolation for low-risk Covid-19 positive cases could be available next week as a high number of cases threatens to overwhelm the country’s managed isolation and quarantine (MIQ) facilities.

Covid-19 coronavirus test.  Female doctor or nurse doing laboratory analysis of a nasal swab in a hospital laboratory.  Medical technologist holding a COVID-19 smear kit, wearing protective gloves from

Photo: 123RF

One question that arises is: why let Covid-positive people self-isolate at home when fully vaccinated and screened New Zealanders who are stranded abroad due to a lack of MIQ points can’t?

71 new cases of Covid-19 were reported yesterday, all of them in Auckland.

So what does the public think of home insulation as an option?

In Takapuna, a woman said it was a good idea, since the government established strict protocols.

“I guess the devil is in the details and it depends on the technology that is going to be used and the process that is going to be followed and how well it is implemented. But this is probably a much cheaper and better way to make sure that people are isolated.On the one hand, yes, of course, you run the risk of people breaking the rules.

“On the other hand, it could encourage more people to go and get tested because I think there is a lot of anxiety now about entering MIQ.”

Others were concerned that people would break the rules if they could isolate themselves at home.

“No, I don’t think it’s a good thing. I don’t think people are serious enough about it. It would be too tempting for them to break the rules. They should be stricter conditions.”

“Although it may seem like an attractive option, you have to have a level of trust and you have to trust that the people who isolate themselves will stay at home and have no contact and will be absolutely responsible. And I’m not sure we did. that level of confidence. “

Grounded Kiwis group spokeswoman on Facebook, Alexandra Birt, said vaccinated New Zealanders stranded abroad were low risk.

“For many people who are abroad, they are both fully vaccinated and may have had Covid, which essentially means they have hybrid immunity and are very, very unlikely to contract the virus again.

“So for someone in that situation who then tests negative so that they can’t isolate themselves at home, whereas people who can test positive in New Zealand, these people are looking at those situations and thinking ‘well, I have a lower risk than that, why can’t I go home and why can’t I isolate myself? ‘”

He said Kiwis trapped abroad are becoming increasingly desperate and frustrated.

“It’s absolutely devastating for a lot of people. We had the fourth lottery on Tuesday night and several people got lost for the fourth time in a row, and some of those people have urgent needs to come back, and some of them from extremely low-risk locations that are completely vaccinated. It’s extremely frustrating, heartbreaking and demoralizing. Many people have even said that they have given up, that they just can’t get back into the lottery. “

Grounded Kiwis is currently working on an in-depth proposal on home insulation for returning Kiwis, which they will present to the government.

“We have a committee of scientific experts who are helping us come up with that proposal. Obviously, there are many other countries in the world that have implemented various approaches to home isolation. New Zealand is in a very privileged position because it can consider other countries the world and see what has been done successfully.

“There are a variety of solutions that the government could be considering implementing and we hope they are doing so because to date we have not seen any of that.”

Immunologist professor Graham le Gros said he supported the idea of ​​home isolation.

“It is a measure that we have to take because it is getting to the point with the spread of the virus, it is going to overwhelm the system and, in fact, having a type of densely populated and poorly functioning institutional groups is not going to be as effective as reality. “. isolation at home where people are comfortable, can live within a frame, and are probably better insulated, so I’m actually all for that. “

He said it would depend on people’s great trust and understanding of how to stop the spread.

“It requires a well-educated and well-thought-out internal process, but I think that’s what we have to do to deal with what is a spreading outbreak and the unstoppable Delta that is sweeping across the country. There is no other option.”

He said it could be effective in stopping the spread of Covid-19 until more people get vaccinated.

“The power is in all of our hands, and understanding how the virus spreads is actually limiting the spread. If you have to isolate yourself at home, there are a lot of good websites, like the Ministry of Health, not all dubious ones, that in fact You can make it clear what you have to do in terms of getting in touch with people, coughing, masks, and all of that really restricts you. “

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