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More than $2 million spent on MIQ facilities

Wednesday 12 October 2022 | Written by Caleb Fotheringham | Published in National


More than $2 million spent on MIQ facilities
KiiKii Motel has been taking in tourists since it finished being an isolation facility on August 31. 22101106

Managed or supervised isolation and quarantine (MIQ) facilities cost the nation more than $2 million.

Figures supplied to Cook Islands News show $2,240,184 was spent to accommodate 1156 people between March 2020 and August 2022.

Major project and procurement support division director, Angelia Williams, from the Ministry of Finance and Economic Management (MFEM) said the spend was spread across five facilities.

That included KiiKii Motel, Ocean Resort and Spa, and Edgewater Resort and Spa in Rarotonga.

Reef Motels and Tamanu Beach Resort were used in Aitutaki.

“The cost of providing these essential services is estimated at approximately $2,240,184.00 with final figures yet to be confirmed,” Williams confirmed.

“In terms of cost recovery, $52,351.90 was recovered from people required to pay for MIQ facilities; this did not include costs recovered from repatriation flights in the year 2021.”  

Efforts continued to recover the amount of debt owing, she said.

“A compassionate approach was adopted for Cook Islands families under financial duress.”

Williams said the full cost per person worked out to be about $1400 for 14 days of isolation.

She said the costs reduced as the period of isolation also reduced.

“This amount varied over the last two years, pending the type of engagement, which was either managed or supervised isolation, or quarantine or as part of the repatriation works.

“This is a cost well worth paying, that enabled individuals and families to return home and to maintain public safety and confidence.

“In due course, full financials will be reported.”

Cook Islands News asked Secretary of Health Bob Williams if the money was well spent.

Williams said government had a responsibility to bring its citizen’s home.

“Of course government will have to absorb those costs through MFEM.

“As we recall back in 2020, the Cook Islands did not record any Covid-19 cases.

“All I can say is that government had put in place, a response plan to keep Covid-19 out of bay, and also to ensure the safe return of our people, and the protection to our resident population.”