Vodafone says it has installed a cow (cellsite on wheels) in Whangaparāoa to provide Wuhan evacuees with mobile coverage.

READ MORE:
Fran O'Sullivan: NZ can lead region as coronavirus tests ties
Liam Dann: Economy on a roll but economists warn of coronavirus shock
Corona virus: Kiwi pilots dumped by Chinese airlines

The mobile site was installed on Wednesday afternoon, on a hill near the Defence Force facility where the evacuees are being quarantined.

In Vodafone-supplied photos of the installation, dozens of camper vans are visible in the background.

Advertisement
The cow (cellsite on wheels) being installed in Whangaparāoa. Photo / Supplied
The cow (cellsite on wheels) being installed in Whangaparāoa. Photo / Supplied

"Our engineers installed the 'cell site on wheels' to boost 3G and 4G coverage in the area, so the Wuhan evacuees will have the availability to get online," a Vodafone spokeswoman said.

"We have supplied prepay SIMs that will be distributed to those who want them."

The cow installation was done in conjunction with the Ministry of Health and the Defence Force.

"Vodafone is the only mobile network with coverage in the area," the spokeswoman said.

Another view of the cow being installed in Whangaparāoa. Photo / Supplied
Another view of the cow being installed in Whangaparāoa. Photo / Supplied

A spokeswoman for Spark responded, "Although coverage at the base hasn't been tested as it is military land, Spark does have limited coverage in the area from our nearest cell site at Army Bay.

"We could look at providing additional coverage if it's required."

Air New Zealand's $500 per head, alcohol-free rescue flight from Wuhan touched down at Auckland International Airport just before 6.15pm.

The 190 evacuees were processed by border officials and underwent medical screening. About 160 of them were loaded on to seven Pacific Tourways buses with blacked-out windows to protect their identities.

Advertisement

They were then whisked to a defence-owned quarantine base in Whangaparāoa and into the care of Ministry of Health staff.

The rest were Australians who boarded another plane before being flown to a quarantine centre on Christmas Island.