COVID-19: Woman at Christchurch managed isolation hotel refusing food after rejecting mandatory tests

A recent arrival from overseas is on hunger strike at a Christchurch managed isolation (MIQ) facility after refusing to be tested for COVID-19.

The returnee, who would have left the facility on Sunday had they complied with the rules, has indicated they will no longer be eating the meals provided to them to protest having to stay longer.

They had not complied with health requirements like daily health checks and mandatory testing, an MIQ spokesperson told Newshub. The returnee will continue to be offered tests until the 28-day mark - the maximum time a returnee needs to remain in MIQ if they refuse a test.

"During the rest of their stay in managed isolation they will continue to have all meals delivered to them, and their wellbeing will be closely monitored by health staff," the spokesperson said.

"Everyone entering an isolation or quarantine facility is provided with a welcome pack, which includes information about the tests they are required to have, when and how they are taken, and what happens if the results are positive or negative.

"In this case, managed isolation nurses also had several conversations with the returnee regarding testing and other matters, and additional clarification was also provided in response to the returnee's concerns."

The spokesperson said a negative COVID-19 test is needed in almost all cases before someone can leave MIQ.

"If a person does not have their final day 12 test, they will be required to stay in isolation or quarantine until they meet the low-risk indicators, up to a maximum of 28 days.

"People refusing their day 12 test are offered a test each day of their extended stay.

"If they agree to a test, return a negative result and meet the standard exit health criteria - they would be able to leave.

"The maximum time a person who is in a bubble of one and is asymptomatic can be required to remain in an isolation facility under the Quarantine Order is 28 days."

Returnees to New Zealand must undergo COVID-19 testing on days 0 or 1, 3, and 12 of a MIQ stay, except those returning from Australia, Antarctica, and some Pacific islands - who only have to return negative tests on days 3 and 12.