An Auckland man self-isolating in a backyard tent and using a bucket as an outhouse is thrilled to have been moved to a hotel to complete his Covid isolation.
Ratana Clarke, 42, had been eating, sleeping and going to the toilet in his New Lynn boarding house's backyard ever since eight guests tested positive for Covid on Sunday.
Typically, Clarke shares cooking and bathroom facilities with the guests of the privately-owned boarding house next to which he has pitched a tent for over a year.
But after all indoor guests tested positive on Sunday night and were told to self-isolate at the property, Clarke became too scared to go inside the house for fear of catching Covid.
Unwilling to go inside - having so far tested negative to Covid on Monday - and unable to leave the property after being deemed a close contact by the Ministry of Health, he had spent four days in the backyard ordering UberEats.
Fortunately, however, his situation changed today when he was finally moved into a managed isolation facility.
"I'm at the Holiday Inn MIQ, thank you so much for your help," he texted the Herald.
"Now everyone is doing their best to help me, and its because of you that this happened."
Clarke earlier moved to Auckland before last year's nationwide lockdown to look after his elderly mum who had diabetes.
After Covid settled down, he moved to New Lynn and the boarding house grounds, paying $100 a week to live in the tent.
"The way I saw it I had a roof over my head, might not be much but there were people worse off than me."
However, once the boarding house guests tested positive, Clarke told the Herald he became frustrated and feeling a little undignified.
"I held on as long as I could, but I used a bucket and recyclable shopping bag to go to the toilet, as gross as that sounds," he said of the challenges of being unable to go inside to the toilet.
He said he got tested for Covid on Monday and received a negative result. However, as he is still considered a close contact he couldn't leave the property for 14 days.
"I'm very worried about getting Covid and the longer I'm stuck in this position the higher the chance of contracting the virus," Clarke earlier said.
The Northern Region Health Co-ordination Centre – Covid-19 Response (NRHCC) had also earlier told the Herald that they planned to give Clarke a place in MIQ for the rest of his isolation period, but couldn't confirm when that would start.
Clarke had said he was frustrated by the delays because he contacted Auckland Regional Public Health Service (ARPHS) five times and only on Wednesday afternoon got a call to say "they are looking into it".
"I've asked them to remove me from here because everybody has tested positive," he said.
"When I rung the first four times they put me through to their answering service and they took my name, date of birth and what you want to talk to them about, and they say they will ring you back."
The house was located about 45m from the road and covered with trees from both sides.
The recent rise in people contracting Covid needing to isolate combined with demand from tens of thousands of Kiwis trying to return home and also needing to isolate has led to a shortage of available hotel rooms.