COVID-19: Avsec officers 'unable to hug their own grandchildren' take on daycare roles at isolation facilities

Some Avsec workes aren't allowed to hug their own family members while the care for others.
Some Avsec workes aren't allowed to hug their own family members while the care for others. Photo credit: Newshub.

New Zealand's Aviation Security (Avsec) officers have swapped laptop trays for pushchairs as they helpe out at Auckland's managed isolation facilities during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Recently, a newly arrived first-time mum was caring for her baby alone in isolation. To give her a break, Avsec officers stepped in to provide a special daycare service while colleagues ensured security requirements were met.

The officers took the young child for walks around the facility, while in full PPE, so their mother could get some rest.

The impact of COVID-19 on New Zealand's aviation sector meant Avsec officers have been performing a range of different duties in recent months, but this one is quite possibly the most different.

Initially their tasks included high visibility reassurance patrols with police and Avsec staff are still involved in providing security at managed isolation facilities.

Over 200 staff are still working on the frontline at these facilities, utilising their specialised customer service skills to assist in various ways including guest interviews, data collection, security assurance and patrols.

Staff working in these facilities have been working with alert level 4 restrictions for more than 200 days, meaning some have made sacrifices like being unable to hug their own grandchildren or elderly parents. It has totally transformed what Avsec do.

Domestic aviation traffic is back to 95 percent of pre-COVID-19 levels, so some Avsec staff have returned to regular airport duties - but others continue to provide special services like looking after little ones at managed isolation facilities.