3,000 new MIQ slots to be released from 9am on Monday

Covid-19 Minister Chris Hipkins has announced that MBIE will resume releasing spaces in MIQ from 9am NZ Time next Monday September 20 with a new ‘lobby’ booking system that allocates rooms randomly to those in an online ‘lobby’ from 8am NZ time.

Hipkins said he expected very strong demand for places, with 3,000 slots being released next Monday. There would continue to be around 4,000 slots per fortnight available before Christmas to be released in stages, although an unspecified number would be reserved for emergency cases.

He said he expected to make an announcement within a week on whether or how long to extend the suspension of the Trans-Tasman Travel Bubble. He said it was unlikely to be extended, but said Cabinet would make that call.

“I wouldn’t be banking on the Trans-Tasman Travel Bubble reopening any time soon,” Hipkins told the 1pm Covid news conference at the Beehive.

The revamped system is designed to exclude ‘bots’ and avoid the previous practice of applicants being on the website refreshing screens for hours on end. Here’s more detail on the new ‘lobby’ system via MIQ.govt.nz

Earlier Ministry of Health Director General Ashley Bloomfield announced there were 14 new cases reported in Auckland in the last day, with all of the cases being linked. This is the third ‘zero’ day of ‘mystery cases.

I welcome your thoughts on this new system and any questions on expected and unexpected consequences.