National | Novel Coronavirus / COVID-19

Tamati Coffey explains why Rotorua is now a quarantine centre

Tamati Coffey says Rotorua was chosen to quarantine repatriated Kiwis because Auckland facilities are full.

“We’ve been told that in Auckland, their quarantine situation is desperate,” Tamati Coffey says.

“They’ve run out of room.”

The Waiariki MP estimates 4000 people are being quarantined.

He says two Rotorua hotels are up to the task of isolating returning Kiwis. The Ibis and Sudema hotels have been asked to become self-isolation units because their facilities are Covid-19-compliant.

Coffey says repatriates with Covid-19 symptoms are being kept in Auckland. It is his understanding that only those without Covid-19 symptoms are being brought to Rotorua.

However, he says, due to the chronic shortage of Covid-19 facilities in Auckland, more people will be isolating in Rotorua.

Upon arrival, people are being shipped straight from Auckland to Rotorua, without being tested.

“On day three, they get tested. On day 12, they’re tested again,” Coffey says.

“Throughout the whole time, they’re also being assessed.”

With the police and military working together, Coffey says there is no risk to Rotorua. Hosting these people, he says, will give the local economy a boost.

Rotorua mayor Steve Chadwick says she was informed about the repatriates being housed in her city. She says she was assured that the quarantine would be operated safely.