WORLD Quarantine spaces in New Zealand to be allocated for critical workers, int'l students: official


Quarantine spaces in New Zealand to be allocated for critical workers, int'l students: official


17:02, May 10, 2021

WELLINGTON, May 10 (Xinhua) -- Rooms in managed isolation and quarantine facilities (MIQ) will be allocated over the next 10 months, many for skilled and critical workers to support New Zealand's economic recovery, a senior New Zealand government official said Monday.

Travellers arrive on the first flight from Sydney, in Wellington on April 19, 2021, as Australia and New Zealand opened a trans-Tasman quarantine-free travel bubble. (File photo: AFP)

"The Trans-Tasman bubble has freed up more rooms, allowing us to allocate more places in managed isolation for critical workers," COVID-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins said in a statement on Monday.

"It has given us flexibility to expand our engagement with the rest of the world on a targeted basis and attract skills and people needed to drive our economic recovery, while carefully managing risks of bringing in COVID-19," Hipkins said.

"We're now at the stage in our COVID response where fewer New Zealanders are choosing to come home, which gives us the opportunity to focus MIQ more on bringing in skills to support our economic recovery," he said.

An averaging more than 10 percent of MIQ spaces will set aside for economic purposes per month, Hipkins said.

About 500 MIQs rooms will be made available for "large groups" every fortnight. These include spaces for 300 specialized construction workers between June and October, 400 international students for arrival in June, out of the 1,000 previously announced, for the start of semester two, and 100 refugees every six weeks from July, the minister said.

"This is great news for the construction sector and will help us deliver on our strong pipeline of critical infrastructure work that will accelerate our recovery," he said.

The government also renewed border exceptions for shearers, rural mobile plant machinery operators and essential travelers to and from the Pacific.

Agriculture Minister Damien O'Connor said the dedicated spaces in MIQ and renewed border exceptions will provide New Zealand's agriculture, horticulture and viticulture sectors with the additional workforce to support the rural communities and help drive New Zealand's economic recovery from COVID-19.

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