On Monday this week, the thirty-two passengers on that flight will be staying in MIQ for ten days instead of the thirteen days. Future flights will require passengers to quarantine for 10 days as per government decisions in November 2021.
Premier Tagelagi last year told BCN News that these MIQ protocols may change should Omicron become a community issue in New Zealand.
At the usual meeting on Sunday evening before the Monday flight, families were informed of all the protocols for MIQ facilities, especially around the excessive amount of food being delivered to those in MIQ by well-meaning families and friends.
Chief of Police Tim Wilson said that one of the biggest challenges for them and for those in MIQ was the amount of food delivered for the passengers as they struggled to consume them and most end up in the rubbish.
Niueans show their love and appreciation by gifting food but authorities are suggesting gifting data for their loved ones’ phones instead because data can be quite expensive and importantly leave very little rubbish.
The waste collection team of the Environment Department is often overlooked as essential workers but they play a crucial role in collecting all the waste from the MIQ facilities. With the amount of food going into MIQ facilities, the team must also deal with rotting food in addition to normal day-to-day waste.
Environment Department Director Haden Talagi said that their team picks up every four days and are guided by the Health Department on safety protocols for rubbish collection.
” We are guided by the Health Department and WHO safety protocols but we pick up rubbish from the MIQ facilities every four days. It’s easier when there is only one MIQ facility to service but right now we have several located around the island so it takes the team longer.
Our team has to wear full PPE on the first pick up but after the third-day test of the MIQ residents return negative results, the team will just wear masks and gloves. It is just too hot for them to wear full PPE and we also don’t have enough stock of hazmat suits”.
Robin Hekau of the Disaster Management Office says that they are also concerned for the health of those in MIQ with so much food.
“We encourage them to be active and to exercise because there is just too much food and we don’t want any further health problems from too much food”.
Hekau says that they have noticed recently that their message is getting out there about reducing the food going into MIQ and hope that this will help minimise the amount of food waste coming out of MIQ.
The passengers from Monday are being quarantined at four different MIQ facilities, some at Homofiti Apartments at Tamakautoga, a few at Kololi’s Guesthouse in Central Alofi, some at the Namukulu Cottages at the northern end of the island, and Taoke Fales at Lakepa on the east coast.
According to Robin Hekau they decided to allocate passengers to MIQ facilities close to where their families are.
Upon arrival, the passengers will be tested for Covid on day three and if all their results are returned negative then the families may be able to visit them on Friday but they will have to wear masks.