Covid 19 coronavirus: MIQ guard loses job after unwanted contact with returnee

An MIQ security guard has lost his job for making unwanted contact with a returnee in an incident the head of MIQ has labelled as “irresponsible” and “extremely disappointing”.

The April 4, 2021, incident happened in the outdoor smoking area of Auckland’s Waipuna managed isolation hotel where a security guard asked a returnee a number of personal questions.

The guard asked for the returnee’s contact details and if she wanted to meet up once she had left the facility.

He sent her two unwanted messages and she reported the incident to facility management, with police later involved.

Head of MIQ brigadier Rose King said the returnee was being supported by police, nursing and wellbeing staff, and facility management.

“The guard was immediately removed from duty at that facility and barred from returning. Any further action is an employment matter for their employer.”

King said such incidents were rare and when they did occur, they were dealt with immediately, with the police involved if necessary.

The incident came a few months after the 20-minute bedroom encounter between an Auckland CBD Grand Millennium Hotel employee and a MIQ returnee in January 2021.

The MIQ worker was sacked for the incident, which Covid-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins described as “unacceptable behaviour, absolutely”.

Of the April 2021 incident, King said the actions of this individual worker were not reflective of the more than 4000 people who do a fantastic job working in New Zealand’s MIQ facilities.

“Every day they selflessly put themselves between us and this virus and have supported more than 147,000 people to return to New Zealand.”

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