Two sisters arrived from South Africa earlier this month healthy and free of Covid-19.
But one would fall victim to infection - and now their mother believes her youngest daughter, just 15 years old, contracted the virus while they were in managed isolation at the Pullman Hotel in Auckland.
Candice Botha told Stuff her two daughters, aged 15 and 20, flew from South Africa and arrived in Auckland on Saturday, January 9, and were put on a bus to the Pullman.
The hotel is now known to be where the latest three confirmed community cases stayed in managed isolation also.
Botha said it was that bus trip where alarm bells started ringing, as the girls saw that they had been put together with people sporting purple armbands; indicating people from Covid high-risk countries like the United Kingdom and the US.
The eldest of the girls told Stuff that she and her sister mostly kept to themselves during their hotel stay, especially after seeing overseas arrivals mingling in the hallway - despite arriving on different flights.
There was little social distancing at the hotel as people played basketball and kids were running around, Stuff reported.
The sisters tested negative for Covid on their day 12 test on January 20.
But the next day, two days before the pair were set to leave managed isolation, the 15-year-old became sick, Stuff reported.
The family said the teenager had struggled to breathe and a day later, she tested positive for Covid-19.
Passengers from different flights mixed and mingled
Their mother said both her girls were fastidious about being clean as they have been living in South Africa during the global pandemic, so must have caught the virus at the Pullman due to lack of social distancing.
She also believes her daughters stayed in a room next to the two latest cases confirmed in the community - since identified as a man and his young child - on the North Shore.
"These facilities are there for a reason - you're there to isolate. You're supposed to be isolating away from people," she told Stuff
Pullman Hotel no longer taking returnees
Yesterday, Covid-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins announced that no more returnees would stay at the Pullman Auckland hotel.
The hotel would eventually be emptied and effectively be put on hold as a managed isolation facility, as a deep clean would be carried out.
The sisters are now at the Jet Park quarantine facility in South Auckland and the younger of the pair is said to be recovering well.
Yesterday, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said she wanted advice from health officials on extra measures for travellers after completing managed isolation amid a fresh Covid-19 outbreak detected in an adult and child.
Ardern said "something had happened", resulting in the virus being spread among guests at the Pullman Hotel isolation facility. As a result no new returnees were coming into the Pullman while the situation was being investigated.
Asked if new rules could be put in place to prevent returnees leaving their rooms at MIQ facilities, Ardern said there were protocols in place for people who were getting fresh air.
"If they need to be tightened because of what we find in this, we will do it," she said.
Officials were looking at whether guests should stay in their rooms at the tail-end of their stay while they wait for test results, like they do at the start of their stay.
"We have allowed people to get fresh air [because] they are in small confined spaces we are mindful the fact that the vast majority of people do not have Covid in these facilities and just enabling people to get through their two weeks but in the safest way possible, that's the balancing act," she on Thursday.
Ardern said she was confident in New Zealand's systems and said that Australia's decision to suspend quarantine-free travel was up to its officials.
Asked about further safeguards at MIQ facilities, Ardern said the new cases were still linked to the border.
New rules have come into place since the further positive tests and would make a difference, she said.
"It is clear due to the link to these cases that something had happened," she said.
Further investigations were underway to understand how the infection had taken place at the Pullman Hotel.
"We've had tens of thousands of people successfully move through but we're looking at further assurances," Ardern said.
Asked how the infection happened, she said nothing was being ruled out and that it could be surface-to-surface transfer, transfer via the air or people simply passing each other.
"The people who work in managed isolation facilities are heroes," the Prime Minister said when asked if staff at those centres need to pick up their game.
Asked if there was too much contact at the Pullman Hotel between returnees, Ardern said officials were being rigorous at working out what had happened.
"They are being kept in their rooms while we work through this issue," she said.
No new returnees were coming into the Pullman Hotel while the situation was being investigated.