Twelve guests had to spend an extra day in managed isolation after a Covid testing blunder left health staff unsure if their results were matched to the correct person.

Boxing commentator Mike Angove told the Herald he was set to leave managed isolation at Auckland's Ellerslie Novotel early on Tuesday, but was told by health officials there was a discrepancy with his test.

"I was told that in the final testing process, where you fill in your details and put in your passport, that the details on the test itself didn't line up with the details on record," he said.

He and the other 11 affected guests were told they were not allowed to leave the hotel until their details were correctly matched and officials were certain they had tested negative for Covid-19.

Mike Angove behind the quarantine fence. Photo / Supplied
Mike Angove behind the quarantine fence. Photo / Supplied

Angove, who had a full day of work planned on Tuesday, said the last-minute delay was "very frustrating".

"But I would rather have it that they are extra cautious then be letting people out that haven't been tested," he said.

"In any situation you will get the occasional human error, you're going to get logistical hiccups... we want caution and although it's frustrating, it is our responsibility to be cautious."

Subscribe to Premium

The tests in question were taken on Saturday, 12 days into the affected guests' isolation and two days before they were set to return home.

As the affected guests waited at the Ellerslie Novotel for the correct data to be matched to their tests, Health Minister Chris Hipkins told media another man in managed isolation was at the centre of another testing bungle.

The man, who was also staying in Auckland, was informed his test results from the second day-12 test were missing last night.

In the meantime his family had received their test results.

Officials were concerned that the correct Covid test hadn't been matched with the right person.


Hipkins said an investigation had been launched following the mix-up, to ensure the mistake wouldn't be repeated.

But a Ministry of Health spokeswoman said that guests were delayed because their tests were in laboratories for longer than expected.

"For nine people it took longer than usual to reconcile their names provided on arrival documents with NHI numbers – this is part of our laboratory process.

"Swabbing was delayed for another three returnees which has since been undertaken and is being urgently processed."

The test results of the 12 affected guests were expected back by 7pm Tuesday at the latest, and provided they were negative, the guests would be allowed to leave.

A timeline of Covid-19 as the number of confirmed cases increases around the world.

"We understand waiting for test results in order to be cleared to leave a managed isolation facility can be an anxious time," the spokeswoman said.


"As soon as we were made aware of the processing timeframe, health officials worked quickly to understand the cause and to ensure the tests were processed urgently."

Angove said he was frustrated to have an extra day added on to his isolation, but he had found the Ministry of Health to be accommodating throughout the experience.

"The key is that when they've had problems with logistics and security they're working quickly to plug them up, so it's not a recurring circumstance."