Statement from Air Commodore Darryn Webb, Head of Managed Isolation and Quarantine
A 32-year-old man will be charged after briefly absconding from a managed isolation facility in Auckland yesterday evening.
The man has this morning tested positive for Covid-19 and has been moved to the Jet Park quarantine facility.
Around 6:50pm the man escaped through a fenced area at the Stamford Plaza when he was out smoking, as a section of external fencing was being replaced. Security attempted to follow the man but were unsuccessful in locating him.
Police were called immediately, and enquiries were underway to locate the man including reviewing CCTV footage and undertaking substantial area searches, before he returned to the facility where he was then interviewed by Police.
Enquiries have established the man went to Countdown on Victoria Street West on foot and purchased items at a self-service checkout, before returning to the hotel around 8pm.
Once the man’s movements were established Police visited the supermarket and ensured the self-service checkout and the areas entered by the man were cleaned.
Auckland Regional Public Health is working with Countdown on any contact tracing and testing requirements.
CCTV footage from within the supermarket has confirmed there was no close contact between the man and any staff or customers during his time there.
Following the confirmation of the positive case, the supermarket has closed and a further deep clean is being carried out today.
Police are currently undertaking an immediate review of CCTV footage to determine the man’s movements in the Auckland CBD.
The actions of this man are completely unacceptable. Returnees are given clear instructions and information about what their responsibilities are. Managed isolation is a critical part in our defence against Covid-19, and it is up to each and every person entering this country to play their part.
We take any breach of the Covid-19 rules very seriously. Wilfully leaving our facilities will not be tolerated, and the appropriate action will be taken.
The fencing in place at all managed isolation facilities is being replaced with 6ft high fences.
Our security framework is currently being assessed to determine what improvements may need to be made, and security requirements are being re-emphasised at all facilities.
We are also reviewing the arrangements in place for smokers, and security in smoking areas.
The man, who is a New Zealand citizen and arrived from New Delhi on 3 July, will be summonsed to appear in court at a later date charged under section 26(1) of the COVID-19 Public Health Response Act 2020.