The head of Managed Isolation and Quarantine has apologised to a mother and her children after they were left for hours without lunch while in quarantine in Auckland with Covid-19.
The woman, who 1 NEWS has chosen not to identify, aired her frustration online, claiming her children were left hungry and upset. A video posted by the woman, who is staying in the Novotel Ellerslie, shows they had not received food by at least 4pm.
“She's hungry but she's like crying in her sleep,” the mother said in a social media video, referring to her daughter.
She says staff informed her that not enough food had been cooked and more was on the way.
“I asked her [staff] why don't you guys feed the families with kids first? And she said, 'we feed who we feed first before we come to you’.”
The situation escalated once food had finally been delivered to the family, with the mother claiming it had already been half eaten.
Infected with Covid-19, the woman then left her room to confront staff and became aggressive.
“Who does this?” she said. “I called you to tell you that my kids got given pizza that's already eaten.”
The incident has forced some staff to self-isolate given the breach of quarantine protocols.
Brigadier Rose King, joint head of MIQ, says abuse towards staff is unacceptable.
“I understand that being in quarantine, especially with children, can be very stressful, even more so for New Zealanders who never expected to be in that situation. Abuse towards anyone, however, is not acceptable.”
King also says she’s been assured the food had not already been partially eaten.
“The most likely scenario is that the pizza became cosmetically damaged during the delivery process,” she said.
The mother says she simply became frustrated at a lack of empathy for her situation.
She was visited by police soon after, who warned her that any further breach of quarantine could result in arrest.
The woman can be seen crying in a later video, explaining her behaviour was a reaction to her children not having access to food and the attitude of staff to her concerns.
At the request of the family, they have since been transferred to a new quarantine facility.
A man escaped from the Novotel Ellerslie MIQ facility before being taken into police custody on Thursday afternoon.