COVID-19: Government should look into building specialised MIQ facilities - Dr Michael Baker

An epidemiologist and infectious disease expert says it's a "sensible idea" for the government to build specialised quarantine facilities for pandemic diseases.

Dr Michael Baker told The Project on Monday the hotels we're using at the moment aren't designed specifically for quarantine.

"The core idea of actually having dedicated facilities is actually quite sensible and obviously the quarantine hotels we're using at the moment are hotels - they're not designed for that," he said.

"They are functioning reasonably but we may see problems with ventilation and people mixing."

Dr Baker says an alternative is to build specialised quarantine facilities somewhere like Ohakea Airbase - a military airport near Palmerston North.

"It might be quite a good investment for the future, given we're going to get other pandemic diseases on the horizon. So I think it's a sensible idea."

Dr Baker also suggested making the COVID Tracer app compulsory in some high-risk places - such as indoor social events, gyms and religious gatherings.

"One approach would be to make [the COVID Tracer app] mandatory for high-risk situations because we know the virus loves indoor environments - particularly where people know each other and they're very convivial when you've had a few drinks.

"So you can work down a list of nightclubs, bars, big indoor social events and music events and so on. 

"Gyms and actually probably some religious gatherings where people sing, because that also transmits the virus very effectively."

In the past 24 hours, more than 800,000 scans have been recorded - 300,000 more than the previous day.

Another 200,000 New Zealanders have turned on the Bluetooth function on their phones, making their movements easier to track.