Covid 19 Delta outbreak: New community cases and more details about virtual MIQ booking system

A new online system to help overseas Kiwis secure a room in managed isolation and quarantine facilities is to be unveiled today.

More details about the MIQ virtual lobby system, exactly how it will work and when it will start are expected to be announced in today’s regular Covid update by Covid Response Minister Chris Hipkins and director general of health Dr Ashley Bloomfield. You can watch the 1pm press conference live here.

Spots in MIQ for overseas travellers were put on hold when the Delta outbreak in Auckland started and officials realised rooms needed to be kept free for people in the community who had caught the virus.

Only emergency vouchers have been made available to New Zealanders overseas since.

The new virtual lobby will allow people who enter the MIQ website within a specific window of time an equal opportunity to secure a room.

Entrance into the site will be random and will mean it will no longer be about who clicks on the room spot the fastest.

The lottery system has been praised by those who have described the struggle of trying to stay up all hours of the day and night waiting for an MIQ spot to become available.

Some people described desperate moves to try to get a spot – such as asking relatives to monitor the website at different times of the day in a bid to snag a spot.

Meanwhile the latest locations of interest include a petrol station in Manurewa and another shop on Dawson Rd, Clover Park.

Today’s update comes as the Ministry of Health reported 15 positive cases of Covid-19 in the community yesterday. Two people with the virus were reported on the border.

All of the community cases were household contacts and all were in Auckland.

Eight of yesterday’s positive cases have exposure events, the health ministry said.

Of the 953 people in Auckland with the virus, 382 had since recovered. Of the 17 community cases in Wellington, 12 have recovered.

Health officials said nine epidemiologically linked sub-clusters remained, with the two largest being the Māngere church group – 381 positive cases as of yesterday – and the Birkdale social network group, with 77 people with Covid.

Authorities also said nine clusters are epidemiologically unlinked.

A total of 22 people were in hospital as of yesterday’s afternoon update: four in North Shore Hospital, 10 people in Middlemore and eight at Auckland City Hospital.

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