A man who tested positive for COVID-19 was taken into custody after allegedly absconding from a quarantine facility in Auckland.
A man who tested positive for COVID-19 was taken into custody after allegedly absconding from a quarantine facility in Auckland and heading back to his home.
It has emerged the man spent 12 hours on the run after leaving the Novotel Ellerslie facility at 1am before being caught early this afternoon.
He appeared in court via phone charged with breaching COVID-19 legislation and was granted bail back to the Novotel facility.
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Superintendent Steve Kehoe said police were notified about 10.30am local time that the man had escaped the Novotel MIQ, which has recently begun taking community COVID-19 cases.
About three hours later, police surrounded a home in Ōtāhuhu, and, shortly after, took the man into custody.
"Police are liaising with the Ministry of Health on this matter to understand this person's movements since he left the MIQ facility and being located in Ōtāhuhu," Superintendent Kehoe said.
"All police staff who have responded to this incident have been following all health guidelines, in accordance with police COVID-19 procedures."
An officer at the Novotel was seen examining and taking photos of a tree next to the fence line.
Across town, several police staff in personal protective equipment (PPE) suits were at Harmony Avenue in the south Auckland suburb.
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Speaking in a media stand-up about the incident this afternoon, COVID-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins said it had not been confirmed exactly how the man escaped, but CCTV footage showed someone hiding in a bush while a security guard walked past.
He said the man was found by police at his "usual place of residence".
"I will say that anybody leaving an MIQ facility, particularly someone who is infected with COVID-19, is something that is utterly unacceptable."
Mr Hipkins said initial reports indicated the man absconded about 1am today.
Shortly after 2pm, a man emerged shirtless from a property and spoke to officers before being escorted into a police van.
He was heard telling officers he did not have any COVID-19 symptoms, according to a Stuff photographer at the scene.
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Officers had their Tasers drawn but did not deploy the weapons.
The 23-year-old man dialled in to his appearance at the Auckland District Court, on a police officer's phone.
His lawyer Danielle Beston asked for him to be remanded without plea and for interim name suppression to be granted.
That was agreed by Judge Belinda Sellars QC, who granted the man bail back to the quarantine facility on a 24-hour curfew.
"The shock of his arrest has brought it home to him," Ms Beston said.
He will next appear in court on September 23.
This story was originally published in Stuff and has been reproduced with permission.
Source: 9News https://www.9news.com.au/world/covid-19-positive-man-who-allegedly-escaped-auckland-hotel-quarantine-arrested/9d37c5f9-65b7-4861-8b6a-49fd56776c40