Sat, 19 Sep 2020

WELLINGTON, Aug. 10 (Xinhua) -- Managed isolation charges for returnees will come into force from Tuesday, said New Zealand Housing Minister Megan Woods after they passed their last cabinet milestone on Monday.

"The new charging system balances the rights of New Zealanders to return home and helps reduce pressure on the managed isolation and quarantine system, while recovering some of the costs from those who choose to leave and enter the country on holidays or business trips," Woods said in a statement.

"Anyone who needs to come home but cannot afford the charges will still be able to come home. Exemptions are available for certain groups of people and waivers from charges are possible on a case-by-case basis for undue financial hardship and in special circumstances, such as compassionate grounds," she said.

New Zealanders who come home temporarily (for less than 90 days) and those who go overseas after regulations come into force and return at a later date, will be charged for managed isolation and quarantine, unless they are exempt or are granted a waiver from payment, the minister said.

The charges cover less than half of the average total costs for managed isolation and quarantine, she noted. For a single person in a room, the charge is 3,100 NZ dollars (2,041 U.S. dollars). Additional adults or children sharing that room will be charged 950 NZ dollars and 475 NZ dollars respectively.

"This charging system makes an important contribution to our public health response to COVID-19. An integral part of our public health response is the requirement that people arriving in the country go into managed isolation or quarantine for at least 14 days," Woods said.

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