A man in his 50s absconded from a New Zealand coronavirus quarantine facility, cutting through a fence to visit a liquor store on Friday.
The man arrived from Sydney, Australia on July 1, cut through a six-foot fence to break out of a temporary managed isolation facility in the Distinction Hotel, Hamilton, on New Zealand’s North Island.
In a statement released on Friday, Air Commodore Darryn Webb, head of managed isolation and quarantine, said the man, who had so far tested negative twice for coronavirus, was in police custody and due to appear in court later in the day.
“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.
“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,” he said.
“It is believed the individual was off the premises for around half an hour, between approximately 6:30pm and 7pm,” he said.
As per guidelines people entering New Zealand must stay in managed isolation or quarantine for at least 14 days and test negative for coronavirus before being allowed to move around freely, but several arrivals to the country have so far absconded from these facilities.
On Wednesday, a 32-year-old man “briefly absconded” from a managed isolation facility in Auckland
On Sunday, a 43-year-old woman escaped from a managed isolation facility in Auckland on foot, before being found a couple of blocks away a short while later.
At least 27,723 people have gone through managed isolation since March 26.
New Zealand so far has reported 1,542 positive cases including 22 deaths.