COVID-19: Five people escape from Hamilton managed isolation facility

One adult and four teenagers left the Garnett Ave premises on Friday night.
One adult and four teenagers left the Garnett Ave premises on Friday night.

UPDATES: The fifth person has now been caught and four of the group are facing charges. Newshub's earlier story is below.


One person is being sought by police afrer a group of five escaped a managed isolation facility in Hamilton on Friday night. 

In a statement, Air Commodore Darryn Webb said four were in police custody while one remains outside of the facility.

"A person was seen exiting over the facility fence by a routine police patrol, and efforts to find and return the group to the facility started immediately," he said. 

"Four people have been found by police and returned to the facility." 

Efforts to search for the fifth person - a 17-year-old male - who is still outside of the facility as of 9:50pm, remain ongoing by police in the Te Rapa area.

"All five people have returned negative results on their day three test results," he said.

"More details will be released as they become available."

Police said they are aware of an incident, but a spokesperson was unable to comment.

It is understood the group absconded from the Distinction Hamilton Hotel and Conference Centre. 

Earlier a person texted in to Marcus Lush's Newstalk ZB show claiming there was a "major police operation in Hamilton", NZME reported. 

"5 youths have run from the same motel the guy who went to get booze in Hamilton. Eagle is also involved. Major breach," they wrote. 

Previously, Martin James McVicar, fled the same facility after returning to New Zealand from Sydney on July 1.

Minister of Health Chris Hipkins confirmed McVicar he had climbed down a fire escape and cut through the fence ties to escape.

He entered Brews liquor store on Te Rapa Road and bought a four-pack of beer and a bottle of pinot noir. 

The 52-year-old, a Queenstown resident, was charged with intentionally failing to comply with an order under the COVID-19 Public Health Response Act 2020 by leaving a managed isolation facility and purchasing alcohol.

The also faced a second charge of intentionally damaging a 52-inch television belonging to the Distinction Hotel.

He was third person to have escaped from managed isolation after a woman fled Auckland's Pullman Hotel on Saturday, and a man absconded from the Stamford Plaza to an Auckland supermarket on Tuesday.