Coronavirus infected man who absconded from isolation facility in Auckland will face jail, $4000 fine

An Indian origin man who tested positive for coronavirus fled his managed isolation facility to visit a Countdown supermarket in central Auckland. The 32-year-old man arrived from India on July 3.

Health Minister Chris Hipkins described the man’s actions as “selfish” and added that he will face charges. The maximum punishment the man could face was up to a six-month jail sentence or a $4000 fine.

The man was outside the facility for 70 minutes.

After an assessment of the CCTV footage authorities said the risk to the public was low.

“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.”

The man walked to the supermarket on foot and purchased items at a self-service checkout, before returning to the hotel about 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.”

“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.”

“The person wore a mask although indicated that was removed for short periods of time.”

Countdown supermarket in a statements said that its store would be shut for cleaning purposes and it had asked its staff to isolate as a precautionary measure.

Officials do not know what the man purchased from the supermarket.