26 Jun 2020

Travellers from South Korea taken to isolation hotel in Wellington

8:01 pm on 26 June 2020

New Zealanders returning home on a repatriation flight from South Korea have been taken to a managed isolation hotel in Wellington today, a first for the capital.

They are staying at the Grand Mercure.

The Ministry of Health said a domestic charter flight took the returnees to Wellington after they arrived in Auckland this morning.

There are now 21 managed isolation hotels in the country in Auckland, Rotorua, Christchurch and now Wellington.

The ministry said the returnees were the only passengers on board the domestic flight.

It is looking to accommodate the increasing number of New Zealanders returning home and says other regions may be used.

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Travellers arriving at the Grand Mercure hotel. Photo: RNZ / Samuel Rillstone

The ministry said it could not speculate on the exact number of those returning in coming weeks but would release the information as it became available.

The government has not ruled out sending anyone who tests positive for Covid-19 in the community to managed isolation hotels.

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Photo: RNZ / Samuel Rillstone

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said it was being considered, if there was community transmission.

"That has been a discussion that we've had together and still haven't ruled out," she said.

"It still remains very much an option that if we had Covid cases we could use those facilities for that purpose too."

Grand Mercure in Wellington is a managed isolation hotel for returning New Zealanders to curb the spread of Covid-19

The Grand Mercure hotel. Photo: RNZ / Denise Garland

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