Third MIQ escapee turns herself in

Photo: ODT files
Photo: ODT files
A woman who allegedly absconded from her southeast Auckland home last night while being escorted by MIQ security has handed herself in to police.

According to a spokesperson, she has been charged with failing to comply with a Covid health order and is being returned to MIQ, transported by police in full PPE gear.

The Covid-infected woman had been transferred from hospital to the Holiday Inn MIQ facility yesterday and was escorted to her house to collect personal items and to tend to a pet.

MIQ security staff accompanied her but did not follow her into the property in southeast Auckland.

They waited outside for 10 minutes before realising she had fled.

She was one of three people who escaped from managed isolation and quarantine facilities in two separate incidents.

The Ministry of Health believes, based on information provided by MIQ, that there was likely to be a low risk to the public due to the short period the pair were out of the quarantine facility.

Joint head of MIQ brigadier Rose King today confirmed that a person arrived at the Holiday Inn at 9.55pm yesterday after being transferred directly from hospital.

Security escorted them back to their south-east home briefly to get personal items, care for a pet and lock the house. But after 10 minutes they found the person had disappeared.

Police were immediately notified.

King said the incidents were really disappointing and unacceptable.

"These facilities are not prisons and these individuals have wilfully absconded.

"There are rules in place for every single returnee from overseas and now the positive community cases, and we expect people to follow these during their stay in managed isolation or quarantine."

Deliberate breaches like this can put the wider community at risk, she said.

Pair left MIQ for cigarettes, judge told 

In the other incident, two men escaped from the Holiday Inn at Auckland Airport, which is being used as a quarantine facility.

They absconded at 5.40pm on Tuesday but were arrested by police within five minutes. They were under police and MIQ security observation the entire time.

One man has been charged with escaping from an Auckland MIQ facility yesterday and appeared at the Auckland District Court this morning.

The 26-year-old was charged with intentionally failing to comply with a Covid-19 Public Health Response Act. The maximum penalty is six months' imprisonment and a $4000 fine.

A mobile phone was handed to the judge with the defendant on speaker.

The man's lawyer said the 26-year-old and another man left the Māngere Holiday Inn to purchase cigarettes and were caught a short time later at a dairy.

Judge Josephine Bouchier said he could be remanded on bail once his MIQ stay ends in four days.

His bail conditions include abiding by all Covid-19 restrictions and not leaving the Holiday Inn again until given permission from the Ministry of Health.

"You will not be allowed to go out for cigarettes - and you better jolly well understand that," she warned.

Meanwhile, a 33-year old-man will also be summoned to appear in court at a later date. The New Zealand Herald understands he is still in the MIQ facility.

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