A tiny room, no opening windows and hand-washed clothes, is how quarantined couple Ben Pool and Tori Sangster were expected to live for the next two weeks.

The pair arrived at Auckland International Airport from London hours after a new rule was implemented in the fight against Covid-19, preventing international travellers from catching domestic flights.

Now the duo, who left New Zealand a month ago to begin their overseas experience, must live in a cramped hotel room with no windows that open for fresh air.

For the first day-and-half they were not allowed to leave the room and had to wash their clothes by hand in the bathroom.


However, after the Herald aired their concerns hotel managers told the couple they could go for a walk outside and do their laundry properly.

Pool earlier said he was worried about keeping the small space hygienic.

"It's going to get disgusting after two weeks. I don't think we are going to be able to do much exercise or get any fresh air."

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It comes as campervan parks have sprung up in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch to take international travellers with no self-isolation plans.

The professional couple couldn't get home to Queenstown because a cancelled flight from the United Kingdom delayed them a day, bumping their arrival into new lockdown measures that prevented them catching a domestic flight.

At the airport they were checked by health professionals, put on a bus and taken to the hotel with little or conflicting explanations.

Tori Sangster and Ben Pool are quarantined in an Ibis Hotel room for two weeks after not being able to board a domestic flight to Queenstown when they arrived from London. Photo / Supplied
Tori Sangster and Ben Pool are quarantined in an Ibis Hotel room for two weeks after not being able to board a domestic flight to Queenstown when they arrived from London. Photo / Supplied

"There was a complete lack of humanity and professional in the whole situation, which is really disappointing to come home to New Zealand and that's basically how we've been treated."


Pool said he and Sangster, both 27, understood the gravity of the situation but said communication had been poor.

"We spent most of yesterday morning ringing various government departments trying to get someone to contact us. We still haven't had any contact with anyone and don't really know what their plan is for us."

A bank worker, Pool likened it to a Diamond Princess cruise ship situation saying he was worried if anyone was infected with the coronavirus it could easily spread as there were many others from the flight also in lockdown at the Ellerslie hotel.

The couple get three meals a day and can choose from a limited menu but had not been checked for dietary requirements.

Sangster, who looks set to celebrate her 28th birthday in quarantine on April 3, has hypothyroidism - making her metabolism slow.

Pool had recently undergone sinus surgery and asked for distilled water to clear his sinuses but had not been given it yet.

Today however they were given some essentials including toilet paper, soap and hand towels but no hand sanitiser.

Pool said the room was comfortable, albeit small, but he hoped communication would improve soon.

On the first day of lockdown yesterday, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern had one simple message for Kiwis - "New Zealanders should act as if they have Covid-19" and stay at home. "Breaking the rules could kill someone close to you."

Overseas arrivals with self-isolation plans would be checked on by the police and taken to quarantine facilities if they failed to self-isolate properly.

Quarantine is now mandatory for those who can no longer get to their home destination.

Almost 500,000 people have been diagnosed with coronavirus globally, with more than 22,000 deaths - 120,000 people have fully recovered.

In New Zealand, the number of confirmed and probably cases is now 368 with 85 new cases overnight - including probable cases.

One person is in intensive care in Nelson, on a ventilator. Their condition deteriorated in the past 24 hours and they had underlying health problems.

Covid19.govt.nz: The Government's official Covid-19 advisory website