Covid 19 coronavirus: Infected MIQ worker had one vaccine jab, guest reveals lax security

A managed isolation facility worker infected with Covid-19 had received at least one dose of the vaccine.

Covid-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins said the vaccine was not 100 per cent effective and it often takes two weeks after the second dose before it takes full effect.

He described it as a lower risk case that should be able to be quickly contained because the number of contacts was small and there were not many locations of interest – though he didn’t want to reveal further details until they could be confirmed before a 1pm press conference today.

Hipkins said there were a few cases at the Grand Millenium that the worker could be linked to, and he would have more to say at 1pm.

Meanwhile, a guest who stayed at the Grand Millennium Auckland hotel complained twice after seeing security staff speaking to guests at close range without masks.

It comes as news a worker at the hotel – a managed isolation and quarantine facility – tested positive for Covid-19 last night.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern declined to comment on the new MIQ infection, saying director general of health Ashley Bloomfield would host a press conference at 1pm today.

Speaking generally she said infections in MIQ facilities were considered “very contained and manageable”.

Tauranga resident Cindy Stutts arrived back in New Zealand on January 11 after travelling to Germany to see her partner last November.

She touched down via a flight from Dubai and was put up at the Grand Millennium Auckland to carry out her 14-day managed isolation period.

A few days later, while returning to her room after getting a coffee downstairs, she heard loud chatting coming from nearby.

“I popped my head around the corner and it was a guy in a security uniform chatting to a woman in the hallway half a metre from one another and without masks.

“I was incredulous. I called and reported it straight away.”

'This is the second time I've called you about this'

The next week, after returning from getting her day 12 test done, Stutts said she was shocked to see another similar incident – this time with a different security staff member.

“I put on my mask and opened the door and there was a guy standing against the doorway talking to a woman and again, less than a metre from each other and with no masks.”

She called reception again to report the incident: “I said: ‘This is the second time I’ve called you about this’.”

Stutts said having returned from countries where Covid was rife and where people were still having to be in lockdown, it was hugely frustrating to see people flouting the rules – particularly those who should know better.

“It was just utter disbelief. They obviously don’t take what they’re saying seriously.

“It’s disheartening when you get here and it’s like these employees are giving the finger [to the rules].”

The incidents witnessed by Stutts happened during the same month a worker at the same MIQ facility was caught in the bedroom of a returnee carrying out their managed isolation period.

It was discovered that the worker was in the guest’s bedroom for 20 minutes. The worker was sacked as a result.

MIQ authorities have been approached for comment about Stutt’s claims.

Latest Covid-19 case

Members of the public are waiting to hear more news of the latest positive Covid case which was announced last night.

The Ministry of Health reported that a worker at the Grand Millennium Auckland hotel had tested positive as a result of a test taken as part of the routine surveillance testing for border workers.

“The information available indicates the worker is asymptomatic. Further investigation is being undertaken this evening,” a statement said.

The employee involved – and their immediate household members – were isolating at their home in Auckland last night.

“Additional tests and whole genome sequence are currently being arranged.”

No locations of interest have been released in relation to this latest case.
Health officials are expected to release more information this afternoon.

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