COVID-19: The new rules for returnees at the Pullman Managed Isolation facility

The Ministry of Health (MoH) has introduced new requirements for guests and staff at the Pullman Managed Isolation facility.

It comes after two people who completed their managed isolation in the Pullman Hotel became infected with COVID-19 after staying at the same time as the positive Northland case.

Starting midday on Saturday, the MoH has implemented these measures:

  • After having have had their 11/12-day test, returnees will be required to stay in their rooms until they get a negative test result and are advised they can depart the facility
  • Returnees departing the Pullman will be required to have a day five post-departure test and stay at home until a negative test result is returned
  • If they become symptomatic following their departure from the Pullman they need to self-isolate and get a test
  • Returnees are required to wear a mask when departing the facility or going for their day five test

The MoH says these will be in place while a review is carried out into how COVID-19 spread in the Pullman Managed Isolation Facility, and the emerging evidence of COVID variants.

University of Auckland Professor of Medicines Des Gorman told The AM Show on Friday that the hotels weren't designed to be used as isolation facilities.

"They were designed to bring you and I together for social encounters, not to keep us separated and certainly not to stop us spreading around an infectious virus," he said. "We are using facilities which are simply unsuitable for purpose."

While investigations into the Pullman Hotel cases continue, the Government has already made some changes.

COVID-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins said on Thursday that air conditioning in the Jet Park hotel, the main quarantine facility, will now run 24/7. 

"There is positive air pressure in the hallway. If someone opens their room and there are any COVID-19 particles in their room because they have COVID-19, then they will be pushed back into their room rather than allowed to drift out into the hallway."