UFC: Israel Adesanya suggests Jacinda Ardern assign therapists to COVID-19 isolation facilities

Halberg winner Israel Adesanya has suggested therapists should be available on call at managed isolation facilities and COVID-19 quarantine hotels.

The UFC middleweight champion is currently in his second stint in isolation, having arrived back in New Zealand this week after a longer than expected stay in the US.

A travel voucher mishap meant Adesanya and his teammates, Carlos Ulberg and Brad Riddell spent more than a month in California following Ulberg's UFC audition in Las Vegas in November.

Speaking through social media, Adesanya has spoken directly to Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, raising concerns over the health and wellbeing of some isolation residents.

"Just an idea I had after yarning with some staff and some guests at these quarantine hotels," Adesanya wrote.

"It'll pay to have an assigned counsellor or therapist at each of these spots. "Some people don't cope well with being locked away and only having an hour a day outside to catch some rays. 

"Some people aren't built like us and are feeling their health decline mentally.

"These places feel like a fancy prison, I'd know...this is my second lag lol.

"Yea just a thought, cuz I'm really outchea on the frontlines y'know. Great job dealing with this covid s***. Keep up the good work," 

The Nigerian-Kiwi will be in isolation over Christmas, and is then expected to resume training ahead of an early 2021 tilt at the UFC light heavyweight title.

In response, a Managed Isolation and Quarintine spokesperson told Newshub quarintinees can seek help if they are struggling during their isolation period.

"Being in managed isolation is challenging, especially during the festive season when many returnees will be apart from whānau and loved ones, MIQ said in a statement.

"We will be reminding returnees that information and tools are available to help them feel supported to get through isolation. Their first point of contact is the on-site health staff.

"When returnees arrive at a Managed Isolation or Quarantine facility they have a health and wellbeing assessment carried out by health professionals on site, which includes questions about mental health and wellbeing.

"They receive clear guidance on protecting their own and others’ health and wellbeing during their stay in managed isolation facilities. This is communicated to them verbally and is reinforced in their Welcome Pack and throughout their stay.

"The Welcome Pack is a booklet, that among other things, contains key information about mental health and wellbeing resources including online therapeutic tools and a service where returnees can speak with trained counsellors on the phone.

"The Welcome Pack can be viewed here and is available in 20 languages.

"This is followed by daily health checks carried out in person or on the phone. These are led by the on-site health team. Nurses are available 24/7 at the facilities to support returnees and help them access care.

"If returnees have any concerns for their health and wellbeing, it is important for them to talk with a health professional. Their first point of contact is the on-site nurse or health staff.

"If a returnee feels they are not getting enough information throughout their stay we encourage them to raise their concerns with the facility.

"Alternatively, if a returnee feels their expectations are not being met, they can raise the issue by using the Complaints Form on the MIQ website."