Covid 19 Delta outbreak: Thousands of Kiwis set to battle for latest MIQ spots

Thousands of Kiwis wanting to return to New Zealand from overseas are currently gluedtheir computer screens as they seek to secure one of the just over 2000 managed isolation rooms being released now.

The Government opened its managed isolation virtual lobby at 1pm, with about 2100 rooms then being opened up for grabs from 2pm.

The rooms are for those wanting to return in December this year and January next year.

Marcus told the Herald he is sitting up into the wee morning in London but it isn’t looking hopeful.

He is more than 12,000 places back in the queue of those wanting rooms.

“No other country in the world is restricting its citizens from returning,” he said.

“It’s cruel to sit awake until 2am in London tofind there are no rooms in November and you are number 12,000+ when only 2000 rooms available.”

Debbie also wrote in to say she is number 3251 in the MIQ queue.

It’s her fifth attempt to secure a room in the revamped MIQ virtual lobby system.

It comes as the MIQ booking system has previously been labelled an “absolute joke” and “heartbreaking” by those who have not been successful.

Now the Ombudsman announced today it is set to investigate the Government’s rollout of the booking system.

Chief Ombudsman Peter Boshier said the investigation had been prompted by hundreds of complaints.

The complaints fitted into four broad categories – claims the allocation system was unlawful, unfit for purpose, unfair, and poorly managed, he said.

Today’s pending release is the second time rooms in MIQ have been made available for 2022.

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To get into the lobby, people have to have an account at the Managed Isolation Allocation System website and have all their personal information – including passport – and flight details handy.

People can only make one booking for themselves (or a group) each turn and, once the room release starts, everyone in the lobby will be randomly organised into a queue.

But the lobby system has been slammed by those who are unsuccessful.

The previous release of MIQ rooms on October 5 offered about 3700 spots.

But more than 25,000 overseas people flooded into the virtual lobby as they vied for one of the managed isolation rooms.

Sydney resident Maggie told the Herald she was number 23,222 in the queue in what was her third attempt to secure a room under the MIQ lottery system.

Louis Ribiere-Male, a 21-year-old Kiwi studying at the University of Sydney, said he was 25,215 in the queue.

Ribiere-Male, who hasn’t been home since early 2020, said out of the 30 Kiwi students trying to get home, he only knew of one who had succeeded.

Hannah Fan, another University of Sydney student, was in the same boat as Ribiere-Male at roughly 23,000th in the queue.

Late last month, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said 12,000 rooms would be released over a several week period.

“The reason we stagger those releases is because some people may have urgent needs that only arise say, in October and November and it allows those people to get equal access if those needs arise a little closer to the time.”

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