Auckland supermarket absconder summoned to court

The man who escaped an Auckland managed isolation facility and visited a supermarket before testing positive for COVID-19 has been summoned to court.

The 32-year-old will appear in the Auckland District Court on August 11 to face charges under the COVID-19 Public Health Response Act. He faces a maximum penalty of six months in prison or a $4000 fine.

The man arrived in Auckland from India on July 3 and was staying at the Stamford Plaza hotel during his mandatory 14 days in managed isolation.

Last Tuesday he managed to escape the facility through a gap in the fencing and visited the Countdown supermarket on Victoria Street West where he purchased items at a self-service checkout during his 70 minutes of freedom.

The next morning one of his tests for COVID-19 came back positive.

He was moved to the quarantine facility at the Jet Park hotel and the Countdown store had to close for cleaning.

Those who had shopped at the supermarket, including Newshub's national correspondent Patrick Gower, were urged to go into self-isolation and get tested for coronavirus.

The man was one of four people so far to escape from a managed isolation facility and caused public outrage for putting other New Zealanders lives at risk.  

Health Minister Chris Hipkins blasted them for their "acts of selfishness".

"It is completely unacceptable that we have now had two people let everybody else down by breaking the rules, leaving facilities and putting New Zealanders at risk. These are acts of selfishness that we intend to use the full weight of the law to stop."

The man spoke to NZME on Thursday and said he was "totally fine" but "very stressed" about the situation.

The man says he had been given "no evidence" of his positive test result and his reasons for leaving managed isolation were "different from the reasons" given by officials.

However, he refused to say why he decided to escape the isolation facility.

"I don't know what's going on, I am pretty confused... The police know the facts, I have told them everything, I am complying with them."

But despite saying he has no evidence of his test result, he said people who had the virus were "human".

"We are also people," he said.