20 Aug 2020

Managed isolation facilites: More security measures rolled out

3:19 pm on 20 August 2020

The government has been trialling thermal CCTV in a managed isolation facility for the last month and is now rolling it out across the board.

CCTV thermal surveillance.

Photo: 123RF

The minister in charge of isolation and quarantine, Megan Woods, says the security systems will only be in public areas.

The cameras that currently exist in hotels don't cover areas that are now being used for things like exercise.

"Managed isolation and quarantine facilities are commercial hotels with security systems that support the hotel function but there is room to improve these systems to better protect our communities from Covid-19," Woods said in a statement.

She says the thermal CCTV will cost an estimated $6 million.

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The Minister in charge of isolation and quarantine, Megan Woods. Photo: RNZ / Samuel Rillstone

The government is also looking at adding CCTV in public and exercise areas to monitor distance breaches, CCTV in accommodation corridors to monitor any breaches between rooms, a Security Control Room/Desk, audible alarms on fire exits, and electronic access systems to restrict or track movement around a facility.

Woods says the new measures will enable quick response to any breaches.

"It will also enable better evidence collection to support enforcement action and if necessary police prosecution for non-compliance.

"Keeping Covid-19 at the border is a priority for the government and these security enhancements are another tool in our toolbox to ensure returnees stay in the facilities and limit risk to the community.

"While no system is fool proof these additional security arrangements add an extra layer of protection to help keep Covid at the border."

She says the government respects individuals' privacy and there will be no additional survelliance in private rooms.

The announcement of new measures comes a day after the government bolstered Defence Force numbers at isolation and quarantine facilities.

It has also set up a new team of health advisers, after the Health Ministry failed to deliver a robust testing strategy at the pace required.

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