Statement from Air Commodore Darryn Webb, Head of Managed Isolation and Quarantine
A man in his fifties is currently in Police custody after absconding from a Hamilton managed isolation facility, the Distinction Hotel, yesterday. He is due to appear in court later today.
The person tested negative for their day 3 test and has today had their second test, after arriving from Sydney on 1 July.
It is important to note that the COVID-19 health risk has been assessed as very low.
Initial information suggests an individual cut through fence ties at the 1.8-metre fence to break out of the facility, and returned to the facility sometime after that.
It is believed the individual was off the premises for around half an hour, between approximately 6:30pm and 7pm.
Local health authorities and Police are in communication with local businesses that may have come into contact with the individual, and are exploring CCTV footage to confirm their movements.
We have talked to one liquor store on Te Rapa Road where we believe the individual visited, and it has cleaned its premises as a result of our inquiries. Police ensured no one entered the store this morning until health officials confirmed it was safe to do so.
I would like to thank the store for their cooperation and for applying extra vigilance in this situation.
Health officials have advised the store owner that all necessary steps have been taken to protect the public.
Public health has provided advice to the store owner that this is a low-risk scenario and they do not have to close.
A review of CCTV footage at the managed isolation facility has confirmed there are no close contacts.
Investigations at this point also indicate there were no close contacts outside the facility.
As we have said repeatedly - actions such as these 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 and abide by the law.
The vast majority of returnees take their responsibilities seriously and abide by the law while in managed isolation. Since 26 March, 27,723 people have gone through managed isolation.
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.
Anyone who has concerns about their health should call Healthline on is 0800 358 5453.