Covid-19 Delta outbreak: How Covid-infected man escaped MIQ – and how hell be watched now

A man with Covid-19 who escaped the new MIQ facility in Ellerslie hid in bushes waiting for staff to pass before leaving in the early hours of the morning.

Joint Head of Managed Isolation and Quarantine, Brigadier Rose King called the incident “a disappointing and unacceptable breach”.

“MIQ is here to keep Covid out of the community and I’m investigating what happened in this instance to make sure it doesn’t happen again.”

King confirmed the man arrived at the Ellerslie facility at 6.15pm on Wednesday and escaped a few hours later.

A person inside the escapee’s bubble who he was isolating with, alerted staff that he was no longer in the room.

Police and New Zealand Defence Force Staff searched the room for the missing man.

After reviewing CCTV footage, staff learnt the man left his room three times between 11.40pm on Wednesday and 1.04am on Thursday.

On his final outing, the man left down the fire stairwell and jumped the fence line. He then hid in the bushes and waited for MIQ staff to pass before leaving the facility at 1.07am.

Out of nearly 170,000 people there have been 12 incidents involving 16 people absconding from managed isolation.

Since this incident, the Ministry of Business Innovation and Employment (MBIE) has increased policing numbers to two and from tonight both stairwells at the facility will haveguards posted on the ground floor.

King confirmed an investigation has been launched into what has occurred and any improvements or changes which should be made.

Police and the Ministry of Health are working together on gaining an understanding of the escapee’s movements since he left the facility.

The man has been charged under the Health Order with failing to comply with an order (Covid-19) and he has appeared in the Auckland District Court via a contactless video link this afternoon.

A judge has bailed him to return to a managed quarantine facility.

Since returning, the man has been transferred to the Jet Park quarantine facility where he will complete his quarantine.

“Additional security measures will be put in place at Jet Park including a security guard permanently stationed on his floor at a safe distance with line of sight to his room door,” King said.

Earlier this afternoon, the man was arrested by Police officers in full PPE at a house in Ōtāhuhu.

Police cordoned off a house in Harmony Ave, Ōtāhuhu, and took him into custody this afternoon.

A statement from police said: “The man’s family have been extremely co-operative with Police and we thank them for this.”

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