Worried staff at a hotel where two workers contracted Covid-19 have spoken out about their concerns over how the managed isolation facility is being run.
Two workers tested positive for Covid-19 after contact with Russian and Ukrainian mariners staying at the Sudima Airport Hotel in Christchurch.
The running and control of isolation facilities is controlled by Managed Isolation and Quarantine - and not respective hotels.
One worker, who didn't want to be named for fear of being fired, told Newstalk ZB's Chris Lynch: "Powers are paranoid, and the culture is very over the top."
"They're more concerned about controlling the message than providing immediate information to staff members working at the hotel."
Another worker claimed they were "frustrated at the lack of information being provided to them by the Ministry of Health".
The worker said: "There is huge tension and resentment within the hotel at how things are managed between the groups involved, including private security firms on minimum wage 'who do all the heavy lifting' plus police, who have their own room, nurses and other health staff provided by the Canterbury District Health Board and Aviation Security.
"Nurses are excellent, but like many staff members are working 12-hour shifts which is hard."
But a Managed Isolation and Quarantine spokeswoman said regular and prompt communications have been provided to staff working at the Sudima Christchurch Airport and their wellbeing is a priority for them.
The spokeswoman said the positive test result for the first worker was received by the Christchurch MIQ team at 4pm on November 2 and a letter was provided to staff at 6.37pm.
"A follow-up letter providing testing advice was sent to staff at 5pm on November 3."
One worker claimed there is a large contingent of New Zealand Defence Force army staff who "basically walk the perimeter occasionally and play cards, watch movies all day and night. They might now and then order Uber Eats".
"New Zealand Defence Force staff are just political optics. They hate being there and are bored stiff. It's security who do most of the work and they are the lowest paid by a large margin."
The worker claimed more and more public sector workers are replacing security guards, and lots of people are angry at that.
"Especially long-standing security being replaced by inexperienced soldiers on much higher pay. This is where cracks will widen in the system over time.
"Having brushes shoved up your nose every week and daily ear check while on minimum wage is the bone of frustration, there's no danger money."
The MIQ spokeswoman said the number of security companies contracted has been reduced from 18 to six.
"This drop in contracts is as a result of rationalising security requirements at Managed Isolation and Quarantine facilities and boosting support with New Zealand Defence Force personnel.
"We are looking into the comments [about NZDF staff] that have been made to determine the veracity. If any instances of ill-discipline are proven, they will be dealt with."
PPE is uncomfortable and some staff are in it 12 hours a day, excluding meal breaks, the worker claimed
There are wellbeing teams provided by the Canterbury District Health Board who "are perhaps the busiest, looking after guests' needs and travel logistics", they said.
Many are former Air New Zealand crew due to their public relations skills.
"There's very limited contact with guests at Sudima and contact is highly regulated".
The MIQ spokesperson confirmed former flight attendants from Air New Zealand, Jetstar and Virgin Australia are being used as staff on the wellbeing team due to their excellent communication skills.
An ambulance worker, who was also nervous about speaking out, said they are not surprised about the Covid-19 cases "coming from that building".
"We picked a few people up from there. Staff were definitely not wearing the correct PPE for dealing with confined Covid. This was only a matter of time.
"Staff on the ground have raised concerns and I really hope the place is fully investigated."
"St John, as a company, has taken Covid-19 very seriously, providing training and correct, advanced PPE. We're leading from the front, and it's frustrating to see other organisations not receiving the same training."
If we don't stick together during this pandemic, we will fail, they said.
The Sudima Christchurch Airport facility operates with strict infection prevention control protocols at all times, the MIQ spokesperson said.
"If there is any evidence of non-compliance with our infection prevention control protocols, we will investigate but we are not able to respond to undocumented claims."
A spokeswoman for Sudima Hotels said they were not able to comment on Ministry of Health processes.
"Hotels operating as MIQ facilities are not responsible for health checks, logistics or security."
Sudima Hotels takes the health and safety of its employees seriously and follows strict guidelines set by the ministry, the spokeswoman said.
"Including the highest standards of hygiene. Hotel staff are required to wear PPE at all times, both back and front of house.
"Hotel employees are segregated from other agency staff at all times. Physical distancing is maintained from guests at all times."