COVID-19: Managed isolation escapee scaled two fences during her breakout in central Auckland

A woman who escaped an Auckland managed isolation facility scaled two fences during her breakout, one of which was 1.82 metres high.

The 43-year-old fled the Pullman Hotel in central Auckland on foot just before 6:20pm on Saturday night, but she was caught by police on nearby Anzac Avenue at 8pm.

She could face a six-month jail term or a $4000 fine if she's charged under the Government's COVID-19 legislation.

Minister Megan Woods, the Government representative overseeing COVID-19 quarantine and managed isolation facilities, said on Sunday the woman was outside a common area when she climbed the fence - she didn't just walk out the door.

"My understanding is there was some temporary low fencing indicating a closed space with a permanent fence about 1.82m high behind that," she told NZME.

She says patrolled perimeters won't be set up since this incident happened at a hotel.

"This is a clearly marked area where it's a given you shouldn't be leaving," she says.

"We're not putting up unclimbable walls at these hotels. We're asking those rejoining the team of five million to follow the rules."

Air Commodore Darryn Webb, head of managed isolation and quarantine, commended the speed at which the woman was found and apprehended.

"This was excellent work by police staff who located the woman as quickly as possible. She was located outdoors. The exact movements of the woman are still being determined," he said on Sunday.

She travelled alone to New Zealand from Brisbane on June 27 and a COVID-19 test came back negative while she was in isolation.

"We recognise that managed isolation can be stressful for people who come to it with a variety of circumstances," Webb says. "However, wilfully leaving our facilities cannot and will not be tolerated, and the appropriate action will be taken."

New arrivals are expected to spend 14 days in isolation, or quarantine if they're showing symptoms, and undergo two tests for the deadly virus.

"This 14-day period forms a critical part of the actions being taken to keep New Zealand and New Zealanders safe during a global pandemic when case numbers are constantly increasing overseas," Webb says.

The five officers who caught the woman are undergoing COVID-19 tests.