A pregnant Kiwi woman stuck in the United States fears she'll have to pay $100,000 to give birth there, after continuously being denied an emergency spot in managed isolation and quarantine (MIQ).
Bergen Graham is 26 weeks pregnant and stuck in America. There are complications, and she has three letters from doctors saying she needs to get back home. But her sixth application for an emergency spot in MIQ has just been declined.
"That's been really frightening because I never thought, born in a country like New Zealand, that this would happen," she told Newshub.
Her US visa is running out. It'll cost her up to $100,000 to give birth in the United States.
"It's awful, it's really stressful."
COVID-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins says he doesn't get involved case-by-case.
"As a minister I don't get involved in individual cases but I would encourage anybody to make sure they're sharing as much information as possible with those who do assess each individual case."
The Chief Ombudsman Peter Boshier revealed on Tuesday that he's received more than 700 complaints about managed isolation and our borders in the last year.
"I want to act quickly on this. This is a social issue of some considerable importance to me," he says.
It came on the same day the Ministry of Health announced it was investigating a community case of COVID-19 in Auckland, though details are scarce and it's not yet known if it's the Delta variant.
It also came as an investigation found that people caught COVID-19 at the Jet Park quarantine hotel in Auckland through a door, which was left open only for a few seconds.
"It shows just how tricky the virus can be," Hipkins said.
In July, a group of returnees tested positive days before the end of their stay. An investigation has found that although three of the group were staying with a COVID-19 case, they didn't catch it from their roommate.
Instead, bizarrely, the genome sequencing links them to a totally different person staying across the hall.
"We have to work on the basis that that's likely to continue, the virus is likely to get more and more transmissible, and so we need to be more and more vigilant. This is far from over," Hipkins said.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern added: "And everyone needs to get vaccinated!"
CCTV footage found both groups had their doors open at the same time for about three to five seconds getting food or health checks.
MIQ now makes sure doors aren't open at the same time.
"We are still continuing to look at everything we can do to reduce the risk," said Hipkins.