A pair of New Zealand siblings told their dying father's life expectancy "won't exceed" their time in MIQ have had their stay extended despite being triple jabbed and having three negative tests.
"It's hell, it's a nightmare, you just fluctuate between numbness and grief and extreme rage; it's just a rollercoaster."
Clare Cornberg and her brother were living in the US when they received a phone call on December 7 that their dad had been hospitalised and had a "very large brain tumour".
The duo were granted an emergency spot in MIQ and landed back in the country on December 17.
Once there, Cornberg said they started an application for an emergency isolation exemption, requesting to isolate at home with their dad in lieu of isolating at an MIQ facility.
"We were hoping to spend whatever time we could with him, and to take care of him post surgery."
In support of their application, she said their father Colin Cornberg's doctor wrote that his cancer was advanced and the surgery he was booked in for carried an extremely high risk.
"We predict their father's life expectancy is unlikely to exceed the period of isolation."
Cornberg said they were told their application to leave early could not be considered until their day 3 negative Covid tests came back, so they waited.
"We both tested negative on day 0, as well as day 3. We also tested negative prior to leaving the USA. Though I had been in constant contact regarding our application - answering every question they asked, sending any necessary supporting documentation through immediately - they stopped responding to me on day 4."
In a statement, associate deputy secretary of Managed Isolation and Quarantine Andrew Milne said decisions on exemptions from managed isolation are not easy ones to make and they are very sympathetic to the distressing situations people are in.
"We need to balance each individual application with our critical work to ensure the safety of all New Zealanders and keeping Covid out, including variants like Omicron."
He said exemptions would only be approved where they could be confident the health risk of transmission was low.
"Our team has been in regular communication with Ms Cornberg and she was advised on Tuesday that their stay would possibly be extended due to being identified as a close contact of a presumed positive Omicron case. This was confirmed on Thursday afternoon."
Cornberg confirmed that on day 6, when they again tested negative, they received a call regarding a potential exposure on an earlier flight.
Subsequently Cornberg said they were informed that instead of getting out on Christmas Eve as scheduled, they would now be there for a further 3 days.
"Regardless of the fact that we have both had three negative Covid tests over the past six days. Regardless of the fact that we've had no potential further contact with the person who tested positive, or with anyone else who was on the flight, we are in Auckland, they are in Christchurch.
"Regardless of the fact that we have clearly stated we will abide by any and all self isolation rules. Regardless of the fact that we are both fully vaccinated and boosted. Regardless of the emergency circumstance that has brought us to New Zealand in the first place."
Her situation comes as the Government announced this week it was extending border closures to late February because of concerns over the fast-spreading Omicron variant of Covid.
The NZ Government had previously said it would begin to slowly phase-out MIQ end mandatory hotel quarantine on January 17 for New Zealand citizens and visa holders coming home from Australia.
While she said there was no "right time" to go through the death of your father, thoughts about him passing had been circling through her head for the past two weeks.
"The idea that my dad might not one day walk me down the aisle, might not one day play with my future kids, that the man who I love more than any man in the world could be gone soon, and that I'm not able to be with him - they're debilitating, they're stressful, they're grief filled, they're my worst nightmare."
While she believes she will see her father again, Cornberg wanted to share their experience to highlight the issue she said many others were facing.
She said being told your father has a brain tumour is the last thing anyone ever wants to hear, let alone having to deal with the stress of MIQ.
"I never imagined going through something like this, I mean dad getting sick and all of the bullsh** that comes with it."
Everything they had gone through with MIQ, she argued, was unjust, "inhumane" and did not line up with a Government claiming to take "care of its people".
"We aren't the only ones who have gone through this insanity. The New Zealand government needs to take a good hard look at how they're dealing with Covid-19 and MIQ."
She urged the Government to think about the repercussions of keeping families apart in cases which they themselves have deemed "emergencies".
Milne said Cornberg's application to leave MIQ early was declined because they had been identified as a suspected close-contact of a presumed positive Omicron case.
"Due to the risks and uncertainties posed by the new Covid-19 Omicron variant, a cautious approach is necessary for these decisions until further information becomes available."
He said the risk assessment tool considered a number of factors, including recently vaccination, the risk level of the country the person had come from, the duration of exemption, and if released, how many people they would come into contact with.
"Our Exemptions team work seven days a week to ensure that applications are turned around as quickly as possible, and the distressing situations facing some of the people who apply are not ignored."