For just under a year, Managed Isolation has been the only point of entry into New Zealand.
While there have been tweaks and changes to the security staffing and costs (set to increase to a potential $5520 per passenger from tomorrow, 24 March) it has remained pretty much the same:
A 14-day stay inside a hotel room.
This is not because the system is popular. Since requirements for passengers to pre-book MIQ spaces in November, and allocation vouchers needed to fly into the country there have been around 100 formal complaints a week made to MBIE around the MIQ system. This information which came from a FOI request from RNZ also revealed that there was currently a 16 week waiting list before Kiwis could book into quarantine.
However there are some countries that have begun a more lateral approach to easing pressure on quarantine facilities for returning citizens and, in some cases, visitors.
Vaccine passports have been touted as a panacea for pandemic travel. However nobody can decide which one.
Whether that's IATA's health pass or the ICC's AOK Pass – every industry from airline associations or to world banks has proposed their own "health passport". Each are locked in a battle to deliver their 'universal' travel passport which will open up borders to travellers, vaccinated against Covid-19.
Countries have had to find and develop their own tech solutions to screening the passengers arriving at their borders, and contact tracing once let inside.
Israel, in particular, has become a front runner in trialling public health tech. With the Green Pass and public health apps being used to open up public spaces and travel, the country has become a laboratory for developing a vision for post-pandemic travel.
One of the most ambitious experiments was launched at the beginning of the month.
At Israel's Ben Gurion Airport 100 passengers were invited to bypass the quarantine hotel. Instead they were given the option to quarantine at home, with the aid of a tracking bracelet.
The goofy-looking bit or wearable tech was given the national contract for Israel's Home Isolation programme. Used in tandem with a tracker installed at home, it's hoped that the bracelets will ease the pressure on Israel's MIQ and costs associated from 2000 returning travellers a day.
Bracelet manufacturers SuperCom say they will soon be able to give the option of home quarantine to all returning Israelis.
"We've increased our production capacity significantly and in the coming weeks would cover those numbers," says Ordan Trabelsi the US-based CEO.
While the company is committed to covering the arrivals at Israel's borders, Trabelsi says they are already exploring the possibility of launching similar projects in other countries, demanding mandatory isolation for travellers.
"Our technology would be applicable to any country and almost any region in the world, as long there is cell coverage there," he says.
Like New Zealand, Israel's borders are closed to non-citizens.
However there are similar tech-driven projects under development in more tourist-dependent countries to reopen borders to travellers. Some use "smart bracelets" to create a more appealing quarantine experience for visitors.
This month, Thailand's Depa (Digital Economy Promotion Agency) announced a luxury "Digital Yacht Quarantine" programme. The programme aims to make tourists consider a holiday in Thailand, not 'in spite of' but 'because of' the novel take on MIQ.
Teaming up with wearable-tech company POMO and local yacht operators the programme will allow visitors to spend isolation period floating around Phuket, with the use of "smart health tracking wristbands".
While the trial on yachts has already begun Thailand's tourism minister Phiphat Ratchakitprakarn said the aim was to expand the use of the bracelets to create "quarantine resorts" in popular destinations such as Chiang Mai and Krabi.
"If we can attract 5 million tourists this year under the current circumstances, that would be a success," he told the Bangkok Post.
However, we are unlikely to see luxury quarantine retreats in New Zealand any time soon.
Beyond GPS, IRD and other bits of tech, the solution depends upon one-thing the heaviest – "trust".
Tourists strapped to a tracking bracelet are not the only possible vector of transmission for Covid-19. Home visitors, and anyone they come in contact with could also contribute to community cases.
Allowing visitors or returning travellers to monitor their own quarantine period from home is a risk New Zealand's Ministry of health is not willing to consider.
"We continually look at new technology which may assist us in the fight against Covid-19," said a spokesperson for the Ministry of Health.
"Technology such as SuperCom's tracing bracelet can only tell us when someone being monitored hasn't complied, after the fact. That can be too late in a COVID-19 environment."
MBIE have not been persuaded to change the tried and tested solution of MIQ facilities. Easing pressure on MIQ is unlikely to come in the form of new technology, but safe travel corridors negotiated with other countries.
Quarantine-free travel with Australia will allow MIQ to free up rooms for returning Kiwis. However with warnings of fitful start to Transtasman travel and suspensions without warning, New Zealand will continue to rely on quarantine hotels for some time.