A managed isolation facility guest was granted an exemption on Monday to visit a patient in Christchurch Hospital.
The Canterbury District Health Board (CDHB) confirmed to Newshub the MIQ guest visited a patient in the hospital on Monday and Infection, Prevention and Control (IP&C) protocols were in place to protect others at the complex. The NZ Herald reports the guest is understood to have been on day 12 of their MIQ stay.
"All guests leaving MIQ facilities with exemptions have a transport plan which our Infection, Prevention and Control teams have input into and the place they are visiting is involved in the planning," said Ralph La Salle, the executive lead for COVID-19 response at the DHB.
"These plans include the provision of IP&C guidelines such as the appropriate PPE to be used for the duration of the exemption. Guests leaving MIQ facilities are required to return negative COVID-19 tests."
La Salle said when a MIQ guest is visiting the hospital, the DHB's IP&C team can be on site when they arrive. This occurred on Monday "to ensure the appropriate safety measures were in place and followed".
According to the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE), exemptions from MIQ for "exceptional reasons" are only approved in rare circumstances.
It is "unlikely" to approve applications to "visit a seriously ill family member at home or in a hospital, unless you have completed at least 12 days in managed isolation and returned two negative tests for COVID-19".
"When they are granted, exemptions are generally approved for a temporary period and you will need to return to the managed isolation facility to complete your 14 days," MBIE says.
"Any exemption from managed isolation requires a strict release plan which you must agree to before it is granted. This includes a requirement to maintain a 2 metre distance from other people – including family and friends – and you will be closely monitored by government or security personnel. You should think about whether you are comfortable with this before you apply."
MBIE has been contacted for comment about this case.