A New Zealand woman who decided to return home three months after her country went into lockdown is living in luxury at her taxpayer-funded quarantine hotel.
Sophie Brown, 22, had plans to spend the year on a trip of a lifetime working in the UK but chose to go home when she saw how well her country had handled the coronavirus pandemic.
Ms Brown was sent to the Ibis Hotel in Rotorua on New Zealand’s North Island for her mandatory 14-day self isolation, where she has been documenting her lavish stay.
Sophie Brown, 22, had plans to spend the year on a trip of a lifetime working in the UK but chose to go home to New Zealand because of how well the country had handled the pandemic
She is now in quarantine at the Ibis Hotel in Rotorua on New Zealand’s North Island
‘The prospect of coming back to a normal life after isolation is pretty good,’ Ms Brown told NZ Herald.
She has shared pictures of her luxury accommodation and meals to her Instagram, showing spacious room with a king bed and flat screen TV.
Ms Brown also shared an image of the hotel car park, which she said has been a major highlight of her stay.
The car park is cordoned off and monitored by staff but people in quarantine are allowed to use it for exercise.
Return travellers in quarantine can go for walks and get fresh air, and are even allowed to have socially-distanced conversations with others.
‘A couple of the guys had referred to it as a prison courtyard,’ she joked.
Although she had been in lockdown in the UK with family since March 20, Ms Brown is using the time to her advantage and applying for work once she gets out.
She has three meals delivered to her room daily, which are left outside the from door.
Breakfast arrives between 7am and 9am, lunch between 11.30am and 1pm and dinner comes between 6.30pm to 7.30pm.
Return travellers in quarantine can go for walks and get fresh air, and are even allowed to have socially-distanced conversations with others
She has shared pictures of her luxury accommodation and meals to her Instagram, showing the spacious king bed
Ms Brown said the ‘food is so good she can’t complain’.
For one meal she was given a pumpkin lasagne, bread roll, salad and even a slice of carrot cake for dessert.
Another time she was given a sandwich, orange and chocolate cake for lunch.
She also receives a daily health check with a nurse and routine COVID-19 checks.
Ms Brown said she was shocked when she was told she had to fill a bus to drive to Rotorua from Auckland Airport, as Auckland hotels had reached capacity.
She said the bus had terrified most of the people in quarantine as social distancing rules were not followed and the buses were filled to capacity.
Ms Brown (pictured) said the ‘food is so good she can’t complain’
For one meal she was given a pumpkin lasagne, bread roll, salad and even a slice of carrot cake for dessert
‘Being in isolation for three months, there wasn’t really a chance of me getting Covid, but being on that bus was the highest chance I’ve had in a long time of catching it,’ she said.
When they arrived they were briefed by military personnel, had to fill out a form, were given information packs and assigned rooms.
The hotel went into lockdown about 11.30am Wednesday and she and others were told by army personnel to stay in their rooms.
Returning travellers all had to be tested for the coronavirus in the carpark before the nine-hour lockdown.
A note she received from the hotel warned her the lockdown was over: ‘Thank you for your patience this afternoon.’
‘Clinical staff have assessed that the facility is safe and thus the lockdown has been lifted. All restrictions prior to the lockdown are now reinstated,’ it read.
Ms Brown has been posting her experience to her Instagram page and dubbed it ‘weird’