MIQ worker fired after 20-minute bedroom 'encounter' with recent returnee

An Auckland MIQ facility worker has been fired after they had a 20-minute "encounter" with a recent returnee in their bedroom.

COVID-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins confirmed during the 1pm update that the incident occurred in early January at the Grand Millennium Hotel in the CBD.

He said the guest and staff member had been exchanging notes, including one written on the back of a face mask.

The incident then occurred when the staffer, who was employed by the hotel, delivered a package to the guest's hotel room. It was believed to be a bottle of wine.

"I didn't enquire specifically the nature of the encounter but I know it was a 20-minute encounter," Hipkins told reporters.

He condemned the behaviour as "unacceptable" and said the worker was fired immediately.

"At the end of the day we are working with human beings and we ask everyone to adhere to the standards we put in place. I cannot control the actions of every individual. But we absolutely make clear what the rules are and if they breach the rules then there are consequences," he said.

"I did ask that they do a thorough investigation into what had happened and whether there was any further action that needed to be taken. I understand that that person was no longer working for managed isolation."

He said he was informed of the incident the day after it occurred but Director-General of Health Dr Ashley Bllomfield told reporters he had only been told about it just before the press conference on Friday.

Hipkins said the public only found out on Friday as that was when the investigation was concluded.

It is not yet known if they will press charges.

Stuff reported that both the staff member and the returnee received negative COVID-19 tests before and after the incident.