A Hamilton woman and her 10-year-old granddaughter being tested for coronavirus at a city drive-in site were devastated to be continuously photographed by passers-by.
Several vehicles even drove on to the very public test site beside a busy Te Rapa roundabout to get better photos while the pair were undergoing their half-hour tests, said the woman, who declined to be named for her family's sake.
The testing doctor and nursing staff tried to stop the phone snappers but their ordeal continued because the site is in an open marquee beside Bryant Rd and the Tui Te Rapa medical centre. Traffic slows outside it to leave and join busy Te Rapa Rd.
"Why do people do this? Why take photos of someone else's misery? Do you know how people are feeling going into that place?
"I said to them you need a security guard here. I said I feel so vulnerable."
She was unhappy that her car and its number plate would be in any photographs on social media and her granddaughter, in isolation at home with her this week, has been tearful she could be shunned by school friends if she was cleared to return to classes.
Tui Medical Group clinical operations manager Sarah Budge confirmed people were hanging round the site taking photos. She said staff are also upset about the photography and tell people to stop but there is nothing they can do because the marquee stretches to a public footpath where people stand taking photos. She confirmed some vehicles had come up on the footpath to take closer photographs.
The Tui group was contracted urgently to set up the Te Rapa testing station almost overnight and had no choice about the location despite privacy concerns.
Budge said she would reluctant to see security guards at a medical centre, a place people should feel safe coming to. The guards would imply a potential for violence and calm was essential in the current situation.
The woman and her grandchild were caught up in a virus scare after visiting the Tui Medical Centre at the northern Hamilton suburb of Rototuna to get the child's sport injury checked out.
The woman said despite numerous large warning signs at the entrance telling people with suspected virus symptoms not to come in but return to their cars and ring an 0800 number, a woman came to the counter saying she and her son had just returned from overseas and that the son was sick.
The son had stood in the queue for some time coughing without covering his mouth, the woman said.
His mother was a foreigner with good English.
She and her son were immediately taken out of the public area by staff.
Concerned the boy was a coronavirus suspect, the woman with her granddaughter asked reception after their appointment if they would be contacted if he proved positive.
"I said do you know who we all are if he's got it so you can ring us? A nurse said we've been through all this with the measles. I said but you don't have my number."
They were told the boy's test results would take 24-48 hours and the woman made the decision to immediately self-isolate at home with her granddaughter. The woman's husband has recently had cancer treatment.
She ensured he left home to stay elsewhere before having any contact with her and his granddaughter.
She had to follow up with Tui through a call centre and was advised the pair needed to be formally tested.
They're in self-isolation again until the test results on Saturday.
The woman said their whole experience shows security staff are needed at medical centres and testing sites.
She's speaking out because she doesn't want others to have to go through the same.
"Maybe they'll read this and talk about it and if they were going to be one of those people, maybe they won't now. Give some thought to the people going through this."